High tech devices are something which it seems impossible to escape anymore for better or worse. If someone doesn’t know something, the reach in their pocket to search for a result. Social media creates celebrities. With this prevalence, the question of when to restrict use comes up. This is especially true in education. So, what is the good and bad of electronic devices in learning?
Pro: Electronic Tools as an Educational Device
The internet can give a response to almost any query. This makes it the perfect tool to find current data and guides. For example, if a student is struggling with an essay format, they can turn to an essay writing service. These sites usually have not only direct writing and editing services but informative blogs and guides as well.
It also helps with classes that need up-to-date feedback. While a math textbook will last a long time, other subjects don’t have that same liberty. Government classes, for one, need current information but new textbooks every year aren’t feasible in many districts. Through the internet, both educator and pupil can access the latest information.
Con: Steal Attention During Lessons
This point, by far, the loudest argument against the use of digital devices. To be fair, it’s a noteworthy point. If devices are allowed without limits, there are definitely going to be distractions. After all, if there’s a choice between scrolling social through Reddit or learning calculus the preference is clear.
However, combatting this with complete bans don’t usually work. Instead, this often leads to rule-breaking behavior. This is why many schools allow exceptions. Frequently this comes in forms such as lax rules against cell phones during lunch periods.
Pro: Preparation Past Their Degrees
The ultimate goal of this system is to set learners up for their futures. In today’s world, that means making them comfortable with tech. If all technology has a hard ban without even implementing controlled classes, this isn’t effective preparation. Even controlled exposure can go a long way.
Con: Unequal Access
The hard truth is that not everyone can access and afford a ton of electronic devices. An iPhone one student has may differ greatly from another who, at most, can afford a pre-paid flip phone. Solutions are tossed around by many schools. This is mostly done through laptop rentals or computer labs. The challenge here is that there is often the threat of sizable fees if rentals are damaged or break down technologically. This can be intimidating to families with a lower income. This problem only amplifies at the college level when everyone has to purchase their own supplies including electronics and textbooks.
Pro: Widespread Participation
It’s impossible to get feedback from every pupil in the typical one-by-one fashion. The larger classes get, the harder participation is. With the use of interaction platforms, it’s easier to gauge performance. In younger classes, this can include review games such as Kahoot. Many college lectures use “clickers” or programs like TopHat to record student answers for review or grading. These programs also give immediate feedback on what percentage of the class chose the right answer. This means that educators are able to recap right away even if more introverted learners are afraid to raise their hand.
Technological innovations are evolving constantly and they’re here to say. There are a variety of reasons that you may or may not want these devices in your learning environment. At the end of the day, the extent of exposure is up to the educator and their superiors. What is clear is that a complete lack of technology in the classroom probably isn’t the way to go.