Friday, April 1, 2011

Does technology enhance or hinder learning?

For this post, I have quite a bit to say. So, I'm going to break it into sections.

1. Cellphones in High Schools
Working at the high school for the past two years, I have seen it go from a no cell-phone policy to a "cell-phones can now be used in the school" policy. Honestly, from a teacher's standpoint, I have found it to be a hindrance to the students' learning. Many teachers don't know how to properly use this technology in the classroom, and students only half pay attention in class because they are too busy texting their friends. If teachers were to properly incorporate this piece of technology, such as a text message assignment or Twitter assignment, then maybe students would see the benefits of learning through technology. However, as of now, it is just one more thing that is pulling students away from the learning.

2. Jargon in Papers
Sometimes teachers might find themselves reading papers with text message jargon, such as "idk" or "b4." Students need to be taught to differentiate when it is the "right" time to use this jargon and the right time to use Standard English. Students with different dialects have to work with code-switching. In a way, text messaging is its own dialect. Incorporating it in the classroom could take writing to a whole new level. However, students need to understand if they write that way for the ACT/SAT or college application essay, it will most likely be frowned upon.

3. Positives of Technology in Education
As much as it may sound as if I am against incorporating technology into the classroom, I am actually a huge proponent of it. First, technology allows the students to do something they enjoy while still learning. For example, I have had my students create Facebook profiles for a character from Romeo and Juliet. Previously, they would have had to write some paragraph describing the character in detail. So, which one sounds more interesting to do? Secondly, technology allows teachers to bridge the gap. Many students do not think that teachers understand "where they are coming from." However, incorporating technology in the classroom could be a relationship builder and a community builder.

Overall, I believe, when used properly, technology has more positives then negatives. It might take a little more effort on the teacher's end to learn the technology, but in the end, teachers might see better results in the students' learning.

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