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Over the past years, the education industry has changed enormously. Whether we talk about the content taught to students or the methods adopted to teach it, there has been a change in almost everything.
As we stepped into the digital age, chalks became wireless mouse, black boards became projectors, notebooks became laptops and books were now fitting in pen drives and hard disks.
(image courtesy: FYSPRINGFIELD)
Bringing technology in classrooms has been a topic of debate for the last couple of decades. While many parents, teachers, academicians and policy makers are in favour of the same, others think it is a total disaster. Let’s look into the matter and discuss some of the positives and negatives of bringing technology inside classrooms.
- Better understanding:
With classrooms turning into smart classrooms, students are also getting smarter! Big chunks of paragraphs are being replaced with pie charts, bar graphs and images and the theory “A picture is worth a thousand words” is coming to life.
- Wider access to information:
Technology nowadays is not only widely available but also affordable. From apps to e-textbooks to Wikipedia, no matter how far you go, all you need is the internet and information will be available to you and all other potential readers and learners.
- Increased exposure:
With internet access, students are provided with great exposure as they are given a chance to think and feel outside their bubble. They come in terms with what is happening in the world and perhaps even try to change the wrong.
- Improved student engagement:
Students who hardly raise their hands in class or the back benchers who are usually sleeping, now look forward to learning something new as these modern age tools are more relatable to them. By fostering discussions and surfacing new and out of the box ideas, technology also helps improve the student- teacher bond.
After reading the above points, it might seem that education and technology go hand in hand. However, this is not the case, there are also disadvantages of bringing technology to classrooms.
One of the major drawbacks of having technology in classrooms is the distraction which comes complimentary with it. With so many tempting social media platforms like snap chat, Instagram, facebook, twitter and tumblr, it’s not hard for the students to divert from what is happening in the class and misuse the opportunity given to them.
With students posting their personal details and pictures online, cyberbullying cases have raised tremendously. Parents and teachers further feel that permitting usage of digital devices in the classroom will lead to more such cases.
(image courtesy: FX)
- Inappropriate data:
With internet connectivity available 24X7, students are exposed to some sites and links which are inappropriate for them. While colleges can limit the availability of these websites on their network, they cannot control what the student is searching for.
- Lack of face to face interaction:
With social media platforms, students might have come closer to each other by using various apps and sites but, at the same time, they have gone far from each other when it comes to face to face interaction which is apparently affecting their real life social skills.
It is fair to say that both students and adults have become more and more technologically inclined. Students adapt quickly to new technologies, just as they will be expected to in the professional world. Cameras, remotes, and wireless devices are all common technologies that result in more engaged learning for students and adaptation to a variety of learning styles. In the near future, classrooms will too have to adapt accordingly and upgrade themselves. There is no stopping that.
However, the need of the hour is setting up of guidelines and rules in place, teaching students about online safety and helping them understand what the good sources of information are. Apart from that, trying to restrain personal usage of internet to as less as possible in the classrooms should also be taken care of.