From interactive whiteboards to tablets, schools have been taking advantage of the new and improved technologies emerging every day to enhance the lessons teachers can give their students. However, the dawn of smartphones have also created problems in the classroom as teachers are battling for the attention of a generation that becomes increasingly reliant on their phones.
Should teachers be worried?
New ways of teaching have always been questioned, the Greeks worried that teaching people to write would damage their memory and our Victorian ancestors believed that the introduction of chalkboards would cause disruptions throughout their classes. With so much emphasis on modern technology and with each new generation becoming more and more tech savvy, are gadgets in the classroom a help or a hindrance?
The first argument that seems to be jumped to is that students using smartphones in the classroom is detrimental to their education. With millions of apps allowing them to access games and every social network under the sun, how can they possible concentrate on the lesson? While this is a valid argument and is something nearly all teachers have struggled with, the potential for research projects is limitless.
However, school owned technology like tablets or laptops could provide a better alternative and the use of web filters can ensure that usability is restricted to the intended purpose (as much as this is possible, anyway). This allows students to pursue further learning on a subject while also allowing teachers to maintain their “switched off and put away” policy on phones.
Ultimately, it could be seen that technology is merely a tool and that it’s up to the teacher to recognise whether this tool will meet the needs of the class or if it will serve as too much as a distraction. A good teacher can make a lesson interesting with nothing more than a cardboard box and a pencil, so the use of technology will not necessarily make a teacher better or worse, nor will it instantly raise the grades of their students. However, if used correctly it can enhance lessons and transport students to new learning environments.
It would seem that a digital classroom will soon be the norm, especially as companies such as Google continue to work to develop new ways for schools to teach coding from an early age. The use of technology is often seen as a pivotal skill and teachers will have to adapt to ensure that they can make the most out of the devices at their disposal to enrich their student’s education even further.