During my days, the maximum technological tools provided and used by the school was a one-hour computer session once a week in which we learn basic computer programs and their functions. This trend has drastically changed over the past two decades. The black/green board and chalks/markers are now replaced by Smartboards, Google boards and high-tech multimedia equipment. Today one-on-one student counselling and discussion are now done over a virtual conferencing program like Zoom and Skype. Moreover, some schools also provide and allow laptops during a classroom lesson, and students do their classwork tasks, maintain their daily diary/homework and session notes over a laptop. The question is, are these tech-gadgets increase students’ learning and engagement in the classroom? Are there any repercussions for students who use these devices during classroom lesson or school hours? Or the use of such technologies during a classroom lesson developed students’ engagement and learning.
As a secondary school teacher, I often use technologies like Multimedia projector and visual aids in my classroom and even sometimes my classroom lesson plan activities involve the use of tech-gear like iPad/tablets and cellular devices by students. However, all these years I gathered some of the advantages and disadvantages of using high-tech gears by students during classroom lessons which I also discussed and studied in my MTeach report/thesis.
Advantages of allowing the student to use tech-gears during classroom sessions
- I observed during my lessons that with the help of personal computing devices, students were able to interact and socialise easily with each other. Students can review the classroom tasks and lesson activities which were given to them virtually after school at their own convenient time. Remotely connected students can track, review and recheck each other’s work that can engage them to better learning experience from each other.
- Personal computing devices minimise the use of paper and increase real-time feedback from the teacher about students’ understanding of the taught content.
- Use of tech-gear in the lesson also minimise the traditional graded assignment practice. After the assessment, students immediately figure-out their mistakes and start working to rectify it after post-assessment email replies.
Disadvantages of allowing the student to use tech-gears during classroom sessions
- One of the most critical implications of using personal computing devices during classroom lesson is distractions. Both adolescents can use the laptop or any tech-device and the grown-ups, however, the only difference is the level of maturity. It is necessary, or I can say a responsibility, for the teacher to first make aware their students about the ethical use of technology devices during the classroom if the teacher allows such device. Otherwise, a student at this age will find a legit alternative to skip the classroom lessons and start shopping at Amazon or play Fortnite.
- Excess utilisation of any resource always results in the form of unfavourable According to CSM (Common Sense Media), an average teenager usually spends hours in front of the LED Screen, and that LED screen is not a TV but of personal computing devices. Teachers first make it sure that whether there is a need to engage the student in such activities? Or is it necessary to use tech-devices in classroom lesson when their students are already spending the average day with these gadgets?
The above analysis does not conclude that a teacher or school should not use technological gadgets in the classroom. The important aspect of technology is to provide additional support to the individual instead of replacing any habit which is useful. It is a necessary student not only learn and engage in the lessons with technology but also learn necessary skills like reading, analysis and critical thinking that will help and develop their future. Careful examining of lesson goals and objective is necessary by the teacher to avoid unnecessary use of technology in the classroom.