By Sarah Doyle
Technology is not something that is a small issue in today’s society. In fact, it is something that is grotesquely emphasized in modern society. It is so emphasized that it has become a normality to have cellphones in public places and in private alike. The commonality of these devices has sparked conflicts among teachers as to whether or not they should be permitted in classroom settings.
One man, superintendant Dan Behm comments, “We really wanted to provide a clean break for students and not have the frenetic energy that can happen if kids start texting each other or social-media posts start going.” The ban even led to students being less nervous when they weren’t in possession of their devices.
The constant debate is whether technology is a hindrance or a benefit for learning–many studies have been done in recent years, and they have come to the conclusion that it is not as beneficial as people are being led to believe. Susan Payne Carter, Kyle Greenberg, and Michael S. Walker who write at Education have observed through their studies that technology “reduces students’ average final-exam performance by roughly one-fifth of a standard deviation”.
On the more positive side, technology has been seen to improve organization in the classroom as students are able to take more formatted notes, and place different materials in specific places in real-time as the class is going on so the information is placed in the right place.
It has been found that the larger disagreement besides computers in the classroom is cell phones being out. Many classrooms around the United States have been enforcing and creating new rules about the usage and banning of smartphones from students during class time. One anonymous student recalls, “My senior year of high school, new policies were being created and teachers were taking into their own hands to punish you if you didn’t give your phone in at the beginning of class–three strikes and you were sent to the disciplinarian.”
The harsh policies are a controversial part of the issue and the rights of the teachers to be able to take away something that is not rightly theirs. There are many ways to approach the problems created such as distraction, lack of concentration, social media, and many others. Despite these problems, however, many benefits are seen such as the fact that technology-based instruction reduces the time students take to reach a learning objective by 30 to 80 percent, according to the US Department of Education.
Overall there is no real knowledge of the long-term effects of technology in the classroom at an early age as it is all relatively new to the classrooms and has not been around long enough to be able to see how the children have been affected as adults.
Forthcoming information will be observed and statistics taken to prove that either the technology is beneficial to students as compared to more old-fashioned techniques, or it is a hindrance to their development. Therein lies the controversy–but for now, the technology relies on the funding of the school system, and the choice of the teacher.