In recent years, technology has been lauded as the solution to all of education’s problems.
Give all students a laptop! Smartboards in every classroom! How about iPads? Sure, buy them in bulk as well!
Why do we think that these fancy gadgets are the answer to our prayers?
Granted, I love my gadgets! I have a SmartBoard in my room and a class set of laptops. However, I know that I do not use my SmartBoard to its full potential. Part of that problem is that I am not in my classroom for 4 hours a day. Instead, I am teaching in the science lab where there is no SmartBoard. In the science lab, I have individual white boards–a no-tech-gadget-that the students love using! When we use the whiteboards, every student is engaged and working. Whereas on the SmartBoard, you get one student up in front of the room working on the SmartBoard. You’ve just replaced the teacher with a mini-teacher, a student. What’s so smart about that? I would rather have all students working at whiteboards than one student at a SmartBoard.
I do love the class set of laptops in my classroom. My students are able to take a foreign language using the Rosetta Stone online program. Without laptop and internet access, a foreign language component would be missing from their curriculum. We are able to complete science simulations, write papers (and revise and edit!), create websites, complete research, and much more using the laptops. They are an invaluable tool in my classroom and a tool that I have used to its fullest potential and integrated within my curriculum.
Again, I love technology and trying out all the latest gadgets. I completed a Master’s of Education program in Instructional Technology. I hold a Technology Specialist endorsement on my certificate. However, I know that just putting the latest gadget in the classroom will not improve teacher instruction, will not motivate students, and will not help students learn. Teachers must still determine how to provide the best instructional practices for the students and seamlessly integrate the technology throughout the instruction and learning process. Only then will students really learn.
What are your thoughts regarding technology in the classroom? Let me know in the comments.