The Risk of Technology-Enhanced Classrooms
New technology. Imagine a modern school, and you often see that there is a lot of technology available. iPads, laptops, computers, and phones, but also robotics and 3D printers. We also often write about it: from use in manufacturing projects to working with your own device. We are generally positive about this as long as the use of technology has added value. However, there are also dangers, from very small to very large. In this article we look at the less positive sides, and how you can (in most cases) deal with this.
Using Technology in Classrooms
There can be quite a few obstacles when using new technology. But even if you know these obstacles and you have worked out the solutions to them, you are still not there. Because what do you actually want the new technology? What will you do with your iPad class or using phones in class?
With the help of such tools, you can develop a clear idea as a school about what you can do with technology. In the best case, you will use options that were not possible before. At worst, you will do exactly the same as before, but with a tablet. The well-known ‘book behind glass’, or the 3D printer that can only be printed on an open day.
Technology also helps students cope up in their class curriculum, even manage their time well as a working student. The internet alone offers many options in thesis making and research. For example, working law students can get help online through law assignment help UK.
It is a pity that new technology is not always put to good use. It requires a considerable investment and then it is a shame that it does not come to the learning of the student. The dangers of using new technology are much more difficult. Below we have some examples of these dangers. Some examples may sound very exaggerated, but could just become reality.
- Distraction. First a buyer, but also one of the dangers that are most warned about. A device can provide (a lot of) distraction. Students can suddenly use everything that the internet has to offer, and as a teacher you do not always have insight into this. A book is much easier to check. Although your own device offers many possibilities, it is good to have a discussion about this, both with colleagues and with the students.
- Individualization. Another danger is more individualization. New technology offers a lot of space for students to work individually, but this can also happen. How desirable is it that everyone works individually on assignments? This can play a role in particular when using adaptive learning programs: collaboration has only a small role here. A consideration when working in a 1-to-1 laptop / ipad class therefore remains: in what way do I ensure that students work together as a teacher?
- Privacy & ownership. Working with new technology also provides a different approach to privacy and ownership of students’ work. Who owns the files? Where do the students store the material and who has access to it? What happens if something goes wrong? Paper can also get lost, but if there is a leak where students disappear files or are visible to everyone, you can have a big problem.
- Big data. About the use of data. This is also a danger. Thanks to all modern technology, you often generate much more data about the students, which you can then use. The only question is, what kind of data are you looking for, and what can you do with this data. Measuring is knowing, but you have to know exactly what you are measuring. Do you give students another chance to improve or change? Or do you, as a teacher, become subordinate to what an algorithm says about the student? New technology is often a black box, in which it is not clear exactly why a certain outcome is found.
- Replacing teachers. The danger that sounds most exaggerated is the replacement of teachers. Imagine that all students work with their own device, and can go through the material at their own pace using an adaptive program. What is your role as a teacher? Probably a computer system can do this more practical, cheaper and faster than a teacher. But is that what education should be? Go through a series of steps as quickly as possible to get a diploma? This may sound like a doom scenario, but in times of declining teacher numbers, it is not surprising if this soon becomes a reality.
But what can I do?
The above points may sound exaggerated. And of course, there is also a counter-argument for every point. Is it better to just work with pen and paper? The bottom line: without a clear vision or idea of how you want to use new technology, it is not possible to provide better education. Because the possibilities are increasing, it is good to also remain aware of the dangers and pitfalls. New technology offers many possibilities, but do not stare blindly. It can improve your teaching, but the most important person remains you, the teacher!