Tech’s upside outweighs downside

08/29/2014 7:08 PM

08/29/2014 7:21 PM

As schools in South Florida begin to introduce Apple iPads and other mobile devices into their curricula, students are thrilled to arrived for class without a 20-pound monster of a bag on their backs. Why do they need to purchase new binders or a fresh set of erasers? What more do they need besides a computer repair or a new iPad case?

The recent incorporation of modern technology in the classroom ultimately enhances students’ learning process. Without the turn of a page or the grip of a pen, students have access to the Internet, various databases, online textbooks and other documents.

These new technological additions to the classroom play significant roles in the education process. iPads and laptops replace workbooks and textbooks; Smart Boards and LCD projectors replace chalk and white boards. Serving as tutors, information sources and even dictionary aids, these classroom tools ensure the success of all students. In most large schools, computers provide access to lessons and lesson-related resources, allowing students who are falling behind to get back on track by re-watching the lesson and practicing on their own.

With technology in the classroom, students are also more informed and knowledgeable about what is going on in the world. Students’ awareness can be enhanced from simply opening their laptops in the morning and glancing at MSN or by tuning into the latest event by watching live-stream videos in class. Library databases and online documents provide students with broad access to information, making research papers and exams easy to prepare for.

Students now can get answers with the click of a button or two. Once they find the definition of a word or understand a literary reference, the student can return to work, saving the time it would take to consult the teacher.

This speeds the teaching and learning process, an adjustment to the rapidly advancing society we live in.

But is it going too fast? Should entire education systems depend upon Wi-Fi or the stability of the computer system? Also, do students now use computer screens as a shield against human interaction? Certainly, technology in the classroom takes away face-to-face time between student and teacher; there, it’s harder for the teacher to use her students’ emotions to recognize whether they understand the content.

Do we want our students turning into emotionless robots?

Technology in the classroom is also very distracting. The games students play and websites they visit during class undermine both teacher and student success. It also leads to cyberbullying, especially among students who use class time to visit social media websites. These days, the stereotypical mean, scary-looking bullies do not bother you in the lunch line or push you off the playground. Instead, they are lurking from the cyberworld, making it difficult for the student targeted to put an end to the torment.

Ultimately, the disadvantages of technology in the classroom are outweighed by the advantages.

High-tech computers and projectors are beneficial not only for students and teachers, but also for the world around us. Students can correspond with other students internationally and participate in global projects. Rotating computer screens are used as notebooks, exams are taken online.

Trees are spared, course work is accelerated, money is saved. Students have the devices of progress and innovation at their fingertips.

Alexa Garcia is a student at Carrollton School of the Sacred Heart in Coconut Grove.

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