Are Classrooms Becoming Too Digital?

Published on February 8, 2019

Our society’s digital obsession and acceptance of collectively living in a technology-driven world, have some parents and caregivers rightfully concerned: Are classrooms becoming too digital?

Today, people own multiple devices, are tech-savvy, and highly knowledgeable about a variety of software. Majority of us cannot live without technology, as we have allowed ourselves to become dependent on it.

We take our smartphones everywhere we go, and our love for them is only continuing to grow.

Research, by the Consumer Technology Association, provides insight into just how important our smartphones are to us. The study shows, the average American household has 2.4 smartphones, compared with 2.8 televisions.

Soon, our homes will have more phones than they will TVs, which only provides more evidence of how tech-hungry we have become.

This rapid increase in the number of devices at home signifies, they must be on the rise in classrooms too.

The, 2016 Technology In The Classroom Survey, by Front Row Education, showed, a whopping 75% of the 2,500 participants, which consisted of U.S. teachers and administrators, agreed, teachers are using technology with their students daily.

Of the 2,500, surveyed, 1,250 said, they now have a one-to-one student-to-device ratio in their classrooms.

It is clear, classrooms are becoming more digital, but are they too digital?

These changes have indeed impacted the way teachers teach and how children learn, and although some people are worried about the state of our children’s education and its use of technology, others feel the complete opposite.

David Warlick, an educator, author, programmer, public speaker, and early adopter of technology in the classroom, says,

“We need technology in every classroom and every student and teacher’s hand, because it is the pen and paper of our time, and it is the lens through which we experience much of our world.”

Kids today, do have access to an assortment of digital devices in their classrooms. Some of the new classroom technology includes 3D printing to electronic chalkboards and gamification. These advancements in the classroom have some parents, teachers, and administers, pleased with the newer, more digitized schools, while others are fearful students will become too reliant on technology, or distracted by their devices, which will end up causing educational issues.

A new study, based on the performance of 15-year-old students across Europe, does create a cause for concern.

The study showed that pupils who used devices like, iPads, laptops, and e-books in the classroom are negatively affected, making technology detrimental to their learning.

The opposite happened for teachers. Unlike the students, the study found that educators, who used technology in the classroom, received more positive results.

Whether a fan of technology in schools or not, we should learn more about the negative and positive effects it has on our children’s education.

Digital Classroom Pros

There are benefits to having technology in the classroom. A prime example of this is how tech allows for a more personalized learning experience for students with the use of adaptive learning software.

This learning process involves technology collecting behavior-based information from classroom devices, which is then used to adjust and adapt the software of those devices to support the individual learning style of each student.

With the need for fewer teacher-directed lessons, digital classrooms offer students more responsibility and accountability for their learning.

Students gain more control over their learning outcomes, with the help of various tech devices.

Children with learning difficulties and mental or physical disabilities, often use technology to communicate with others, as well, and without it, many may have never known what it was like to get their emotions, thoughts, and words out.

Technology is a tremendous asset for assisting in the implementation of healthy competitions and providing subject motivation for students.

Furthermore, it has become a great tool and resource for teachers, as well.

Educators can automate tedious tasks and assess student development with the use of technology.

Digital classrooms offer students multiple positive learning methods and provide teachers with helpful devices.

Learning from and through technology prepares students for their digital futures by providing them with the necessary tech-related job skills.

Although there are pros for students and teachers when using technology in the classroom, the idea of schools becoming too digital, and possibly hindering children’s development, cannot go on being ignored.

Digital Classroom Cons

Remember the days when adults were worried about their kids watching, “too much television,” now, with the infiltration of computers, tablets, and smartphones, the concern is much greater than T.V. watching.

We have always known it; technology can cause some setbacks.

An example is the socialization of students and how the use of too much technology negatively impacts this critical developmental process.

We know, true engagement comes from human-to-human or teacher-to-student interactions, and not from using devices and gadgets over a period of multiple hours, per day.

Children end up getting more screen time than they do face time, making them unable to know how to interact socially with their peers.

The rapid growth of the amount of technology in the classroom is not the only factor we must consider. Young children are being introduced to devices early in life, which can negatively impact their physical and mental health.

Technology can cause auditory and visual overstimulation, primarily to those who use it during early childhood education. There are behavioral and cognitive issues which can come as a result of too much technology, as well.

Students who use devices for extended periods, end up losing their ability to rely on their memory, and eventually, they use their brains less, for creative and critical thinking. Kids become more dependent on their devices and turn to them to do these mental activities for them.

Technology is also taxing on teachers level of expertise, causing them to learn unfamiliar devices and software.

What some traditional educators find especially difficult, is learning how to teach tech-savvy children without fully understanding computers, software, and other devices themselves.

Therefore, classrooms that are becoming too digital may not only be too much for students but teachers also.

There are solid pros and cons to having too much technology in the classroom, but how, when, and who decides schools are too digital?

Moreover, are we even aware there is a “too much technology in the classroom” line we can cross, that is if we have not already?

Amanda Ryan is a Columnist at Grit Daily. She loves to share fun facts about history, the auto industry, and other verticals.

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