Technology has long been on the front lines of education. According to Laura Gray in “History of Technology in the Classroom,” in the 1950s, some “people thought televisions might eventually replace classroom teachers.” Source. Over time, technology has improved, leaning towards the idea that it is more beneficial to keep it around in the classroom because it may actually be better than just having a classroom teacher. With technology improving it is allowing for new devices to be integrated into school settings and learning situations. Most schools today have some type of smart board or television or projector at the front of the classroom, and some professors also allow students to bring laptops and iPads. Yet there has been much controversy around the topic of whether technology should be allowed in classrooms due to some of its detrimental effects. However, technology such as laptops and iPads are beneficial because they allow for more research opportunities, create opportunities for collaboration and improve teaching methods.
Over the last decade, technological advancements such as laptops and iPads have been negatively affecting the way teachers conduct their classes. Teachers have been trying to ban and/or contain the number of students that use technology in the classroom due to the fact that it is considered a distraction for others. For example, in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Matthew Numer states, “Students are capable of making their own choices, and if they choose to check Snapchat instead of listening to your lecture, then that’s their loss” Source. When sitting in a classroom where technology rules are more lenient, such as a college setting, students have more freedom as they are not being watched over by their professor. Therefore, they have the choice to either take notes or watch Netflix, text their friends, shop, or do research. Teachers want to ban laptops, and other technological devices in their classroom to prevent things like that from happening and avoid devices that can easily distract their students. Students are not likely to learn anything if they are not paying attention to the class. In younger classrooms settings it is not as beneficial because it is disconnecting students from social interactions. Kids nowadays hide behind their phones and laptops so there is never really any interaction between students if the technology is involved. Technology in classrooms can also enable multiple forms of cheating, whether it be on class assignments or exams. Students can easily message each other from their laptops, phones, or iPads and send answers to each other. When students text each other and slack off in class, it makes it clear why many critics will say technology is harmful towards the students’ education.
Despite the negative aspects and effects of technology in the classroom, there are multiple reasons as to why technology is a beneficial and helpful tool that needs to be integrated into education in today’s classrooms. According to the article “6 Pros & Cons of Technology in the Classroom in 2018”, written by Vawn Himmelsbach, technologies like Blackboards, Podcasts, and Classroom Response Systems provide teachers access to more methods and styles of teaching and allow teachers to share valuable information with students. Source Another benefit is that technology helps to make sure that the students are fully engaged and invested in the activity happening in the classroom. Technology in the classroom allows students to have instant access to up to date information. This can be helpful when working on group projects, or in-class assignments because having access to up to date information allow for assignments to be more accurate. Technology can also be beneficial for students with disabilities. Teachers sometimes forget that some students with physical and learning disabilities may need to use electronics in order to participate in class. For instance, students who have wrist, arm, or hand impairments may need to use laptops or iPads because they cannot write or hold a pen or pencil in their hand. Mentioned in the article “When You Talk About Banning Laptops, You Throw Disabled Students Under the Bus”, a student named Sarah Singer struggled with arthritis in her wrist and fingers, and found that due to policies about technology in classrooms, she was singled out and felt uncomfortable while using technology to accommodate her disability Source.
Technology in the classroom is beneficial to both the students and teachers and should be allowed in classroom settings. Many students like myself use laptops for multiple reasons such as to take notes. Being able to use my laptop and other forms of technology, such as my iPad, has enabled me to become a better student in school. My notes are more organized due to the fact I keep everything in files. I also am able to get more information down during lectures and other classes. While in the process of a lecture if the professor is making reference to an article or bringing up a point in class that I do not understand, I am able to use my laptop to search for the information and skim through it to understand the lecture more. Lastly, I occasionally use my iPad to take pictures of the board in front of me so I can have exactly what the teacher has on the board. It allows me to not miss any information during a lecture because I am able to capture the image of the information, and I am able to listen to what the professor has to say while looking at the picture of the notes. I do not have to waste my time writing down information, which can sometimes lead me to not focus on what the teacher has to say.
To be certain, there are a few downsides to using technology in the classroom, but it is not worth it to ban due to the effects it has on students, disabled or not, as well as it should be the students’ choice if they want or need to use a laptop. Being told a person cannot do something just makes them have an urge to do it more. So banning technology in classrooms will just make students become more secretive with it. It is better for students to be allowed to use technology in the classroom rather than depriving them of the use of a valuable and beneficial source that allows for research and collaboration opportunities and methods that professors use to teach.