Digital technology in the classroom
MAGAZINE – In this information age, teaching no longer consists of just OHP slides, textbooks and chalkboards. With the growth of advanced technology exponentially superceding development in many aspects of our lives, our rate of change is paramount. You either adapt quick, or get left behind.
We need to consider – what is the purpose of technology? Its goal is to make tasks easier for humans to perform.
Digital technology does this very effectively – a teacher can now blog and email parents to update them about their child’s performance or upcoming activities, because everyone is now connected. Teachers can now find resources easier online. Educating through technology becomes less linear and more creative, and this truly has its benefits. But is digital technology in the classroom always a good thing?
Balanced teaching is key
A teacher’s role has evolved. Teachers now shoulder greater responsibilities at work and play a more active role as a counselor and consultant. How many times have you received a text message from a student or parent on your mobile phone after working hours? How often are you expected to be online or connected?
Chances are, while technology has simplified certain tasks at work and allowed greater access to knowledge for transfer, it has also introduced more elements into the profession. This is true for many other industries – timezones mean nothing to those on conference calls, customer service hours are now round-the-clock, e-commerce businesses hold product launches and huge sales at midnight. But at some point, you will need to take a step back and get some much-needed personal time.
With a huge array of digital gadgets and devices to keep us connected, surely there is no better way to teach? Actually, there are better ways to teach, depending on the subject matter. Some content such as science experiments and design are better understood through hands-on experience. Some students also learn better through physical engagement.
One key problem with technology in the classroom is distraction – teachers are always unsure if the students are really on the website they are supposed to be looking at, or on Facebook. We have to always remember that technology must aid teaching, simplify tasks and engage students. If any one of these conditions are not met, we need to look into its effectiveness for that particular activity.
More changes ahead
Supercomputers are already in our pockets. In years to come, technology will replace many traditional methods of teaching. It is important that we keep up with the development, but it doesn’t mean we have to adopt and implement them all. We just need to pick and choose.
At the end of the day, technology cannot replace the way teachers positively impact lives, year after year. It can only aid – that’s all technology can do.