In a 2000 study conducted by The Center for the Digital Future at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, only 67 percent of respondents declared themselves internet users. When the same study was conducted in 2016, 92 percent of respondents declared themselves internet users. Based on this study, it is evident that the amount of technology present in today’s society is substantially larger than it has been in previous generations. As a result, there has been a noticeable increase in the use of technology in classrooms today as well. Many people strongly believe that technology use in classrooms should either decrease, cease to exist at all, or only be granted to students with disabilities. On the contrary, the use of technology in classrooms today is crucial because it enables students who learn differently to retain information in the best way possible, reduces inequality, and allows students to engage themselves in different types of learning.
Many people believe that technology should not be used in the classroom because it might be seen as a distraction. However, the reasons as to why technology should be used in the classroom greatly outweigh the reasons as to why it should not be used. In her article “Laptops Are Great. But Not During a Lecture or a Meeting.”, Susan Dynarski argues that, “…Laptops distract from learning, both for users and for those around them”. Dynarski’s solution to this problem includes banning student-use of all electronics with the exception of those who have learning disabilities. If only students who had disabilities were able to access technology in classrooms, it would then become obvious as to who has a learning disability and who does not. Knowing this, Dynarski continues to state, “That this is a loss of privacy for those students, which also occurs when they are given more time to complete a test. Those negatives must be weighed against the learning losses of other students when laptops are used in class”. If professors are most concerned that laptops will distract students from learning, they should take into consideration that some students will, most likely, become distracted in lectures even with the absence of technology. In the end, it is the student that is paying for their education, therefore they should be the ones to decide if they want to waste their money by not paying attention in class.
Additionally, allowing only those with disabilities to use technology can make things extremely uncomfortable for them. For example, in their article “When You Talk About Banning Laptops, You Throw Disabled Students Under the Bus”, Katie Rose Guest Pyral and Jordynn Jack argue that, “…disabled students bear burdens of suspicion and jealousy when they’re singled out in class with a tool that the other students don’t get to use”. How would only allowing certain students to use technology be fair to anyone? Those who don’t get to use it face the disappointment of not having access to the same resources as some of their classmates and those who do get to use it feel out of place for having an advantage over their classmates. Therefore, it is unethical and not logical to ban technology use in classrooms.
Technology should be incorporated into classrooms because not all students are able to learn the same way. Therefore, some may need to use technology in order to learn and understand the necessary information. For instance, one student might learn best by taking notes by hand, while another student might learn best by taking notes on their laptop. How would it be considered fair to allow one student to use the method of learning that works best for them, but not the other? Although a student may not have a physical disability that would allow them to use technology in the classroom, they still might need to use technology in order to learn. Denying students access to technology who need it to help them retain information would not be beneficial, as students would not be able to succeed as much as they could if they were granted the right to use technology.
Another reason why technology use is important in classrooms is that it allows students to engage in different types of learning. Lectures can be taught by professors and interpreted by students in a multitude of different ways. Due to this, laptops can help different learning and teaching methods become successful. For example, in his article “Banning Laptops is Not the Answer”, Professor James M. Lang of Assumption College asserts, “The classroom should serve as an active laboratory of learning, a place where students engage with the course material through multiple cognitive streams”. In order for a classroom to be an “active laboratory of learning” like Lang states, there must be a variety of different learning and teaching methods that exist. How else are students supposed to retain information if every class taught is the same as the previous one? Personally, I have used engaging forms of technology in class that helped me retain information. When I was taking spanish in high school, my teacher would use a website called “Kahoot”. The students were given a class code and then competed against each other by answering questions created by our teacher. The student who answered the most questions correctly in the shortest amount of time would win. In my class, we were given a word in English and we had 4 different options to choose from what we thought the word translated to in Spanish. I found this to be very beneficial, for I was able to quickly learn words in Spanish as well as compete against my classmates. Laptops can help to create this engaged environment by allowing students to have fun while they learn.
Although there have been many different arguments regarding technology use in classrooms, placing a limit on the use of technology in classrooms places a limit on what students are capable of achieving. Why should learning methods be made unequal for students in classrooms if it makes students jealous or uncomfortable? Technology in classrooms in today’s society will help contribute to classroom equality as well as a variety of different methods of learning and teaching.
“Annenberg study shows increase in technology use.” UWIRE Text, 20 September, 2017, p.1.
http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A524951198/AONE?u=nysl_sc_cortland&sid=AONE&xid=661c9b9a. Accessed 11 November, 2018.
Dynarski, Susan. “Laptops Are Great. But Not During a Lecture or a Meeting.” The New York
Times, 22 November, 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/22/business/laptops-not-during-lecture-or- meeting.html. Accessed 11 November, 2018.
Lang, James M. “Banning Laptops Is Not the Answer.” The Chronicle of Higher Education, 2016,
Pyral, Katie and Jack, Jordynn. “When You Talk About About Banning Laptops, You Throw
Disabled Students Under the Bus.” Huffington Post, 27 November, 2017, https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/when-you-talk-about-banning-laptops-you-throw-disabled_us_5a1ccb4ee4b07bcab2c6997d. Accessed 11 November 2018.