As much progress as technology can help a classroom make, it isn’t always a positive force. There are some drawbacks to trying to introduce technology into classrooms, even when the implementation is done in the most thoughtful and well planned out of ways.
Most dramatic shifts in how humans act and interact are accompanied by difficulties, especially at the outset. Though these difficulties may not outweigh the benefits of the new paradigm, they are nevertheless real. Technology in schools is no exception. Some of the problems associated with technology are mechanical: we all have memories of a teacher struggling to get a projector or program to work, or of losing a week’s work on a project because of a glitch in a system. Other problems may be less obvious.
Many schools must deal not only with students who lack access to technology, but also with those who have too much access. Some students spend most of their free time at home playing computer games, surfing the Internet, or texting on their cell phones. This obsession with technologically based entertainment spills over into the school environment. Teachers must be aware of students who are surreptitiously playing games on cell phones or tablets in the classroom, who are using school computer time to communicate with friends, or who are not getting the social contact or exercise they need because they are hunched over their device at every free moment.
Another difficulty is that the World Wide Web contains not only beneficial information, but also information that may be harmful. Young people may not have the skills or desire to filter out the negative elements from the positive. As a teacher, you should be aware of this and should make an effort to tutor children in possible danger areas on the Internet: chat rooms, sexual trolls, and so on.
Just as you as a teacher must do your research on how to best extract benefits from technology, you must also do your homework when it comes to being prepared to combat the negative impact technology can have. Make sure you’re equipped to handle not just the best, but also the worst of what happens when the modern age comes to school.
Educators - how do you deal with the difficulties of seamlessly incorporating technology and teaching?
The opinions expressed in Education Futures: Emerging Trends in K-12 are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.