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Madison Hopper

Digital Essay

3/12/15

Is Technology in the Classroom Beneficial?


There are several debates regarding the education system in the twenty-first century. One
that is most certainly popular is the issue that deals with technology in the classroom. Is it
helpful? Will it hurt children in the long run? If we dont have technology, do we keep the
traditional teaching styles? The amount of education technology you see in the classroom really
depends on the school. In one area, you may have the best devices and IT services, but in another
area, you will hardly have enough books for the students to use. The question that parents as well
as educators want answered is whether or not technology in the classroom helps or hinders the
students.
First, the types of technology everyone is referring to should be discussed before
anything is mentioned about the effects. In the twenty-first century, there are new Apple iPads in
many updated classrooms. These come equipped with educational apps that children play games.
Many teachers will use this device as a tool to motivate kids by awarding them playtime on the
classroom iPad. Another form of technology that is seen in several classrooms from elementary
classes all the way through high school classes is the Smart Board. This is the modern version of
the white board where teachers can electronically write notes, play videos, construct interactive
games and more. The electronic book is basically a digitalized book that students can have
opportunities to use interactive activities to get the children engaged in the topics. Clickers are a
traditional way to allow students to have a quick response to a multiple choice question.
Teachers have used these types of technologies in their lessons plans in many different
ways. The clicker technology has been used in classes from upper elementary students to even
college students. The younger grades such as elementary students have used this software to
practice for their end of grade testing while the college professors may use this technology for

Madison Hopper

Digital Essay

3/12/15

attendance purposes. An electronic book can be used for younger ages such as pre-school all the
way to adulthood. When you see the e-books in a preschoolers
hands, itll be more like a picture book with activities. For an adult,
the electronic book will be simply a digital book where the pages
flip similar to a print version. For example, think of a Kindle or a
Nook when you think of an adult e-book. Another great example of
using technology different ways in the classroom would be the use
of the Smart Board. The Smart Board is capable of so many things. A teacher can present
PowerPoint presentations or can create a Jeopardy game to review for an exam using the Smart
Board technology. This is only an insight into the ways teachers use technology in the classroom.
Technology, in many studies, has shown that it is beneficial in the classroom for students
and teachers. A private school right here in Charlotte, The Fletcher School, provides iPad minis
for each student in their program. They use these iPads to create Popplet presentations as well as
write notes. The students also love playing educational games on these devices. Roman Sahakav
writes in 2014 technologys two main benefits of use in the classroom. He shares that technology
can be used as a teachers aide; he also notes that the accessibility of information is easy with
technology because the internet allows children to get an answer to a problem within seconds.
Explaining further his insight to the benefits, Sahakav writes that the use of Smart Board
technology and other devices, students needs are better met.
A benefit of the electronic books is the fact that when children in elementary and even
middle school use these books, the rate of interest and engagement increases dramatically.
Students in early elementary schools grades can point and click a word as they read to find
definitions and can even play activities on the devices about the

Madison Hopper

Digital Essay

3/12/15

reading which helps the students with reading comprehension. We all know that in this twentyfirst century, kids of all ages are able to play a video on a smartphone or swipe left or right to
show the next picture in the photo library before they can even walk. When a teacher uses
technology, the children are more likely to pay attention and be engaged during the lesson.
Again, there is a huge demand for the education game systems. Whether it be on gaming
devices or apps on an Apple iPad, people everywhere are interested in making sure their brain
stays on top of things. A study was done to see if these educational games were effective or just a
waste of time. Students at an elementary school were divided into three groups. One group was
trained with a gaming console that was advertised as being helpful in benefiting the mental
computation of children. Another group was trained by doing brain gym which was related to
exercise for the brain. The third and final group had no training whatsoever, so they were
considered the control group. Before the actual training took place, these three groups were
required to take a test to compare their answers to the end of the study. At the end of the training,
all three groups took the same test again. The game console group and the brain gym group had a
significant increase of correct answers compared to the first time they took the test. Their time
also increased as well. The conclusion of the study showed that any brain training whether it be
physical training or the education game console can help a student succeed.

Madison Hopper

Digital Essay

3/12/15

There are some smaller benefits of using technology that can be mentioned. Of course
with our nation turning towards the direction of going green, the use of technology in the
classroom helps saves paper on a daily basis.
There are reasons as well why technology brings a disadvantage into the classroom.
Many schools actually ban technology devices for the reason that theyre distracting. Sahakav, as
mentioned above, stated two reasons why technology hinders our education system. The first
thing he mentioned was that technology is very distracting. You see high school students on their
cell phones during class texting other students in the school, or students get on the computer in
the computer lab playing games or are on social media sites when they should be doing a
research paper. Some schools are offering students to bring their own devices or BYOD for
certain projects. There is a

whole different debate on

this topic, but many

individuals dont think its a

great idea because the

smartphones and tablets

give students access to

social media and other

websites that are distracting in classes. Referring again to the private school located right here in
Charlotte, NC, the students can be very distracted during a class discussion by these iPad
devices. In an observation, I actually noticed a few of the students messaging each other using
the message app on the device. This was really distracting them from the student presentations
that were being given.
Cheating is also a common issue with older students. Because the smartphones now have
fancy cameras, students are able to easily take images of homework or work in general that
theyve completed and send them to their classmates. I have had firsthand experience in my high
school in Gastonia, NC when two students were suspended for stealing a teachers exam key,

Madison Hopper

Digital Essay

3/12/15

taking pictures with their cell phones, and were making students pay them money in return for
the images. Even during high school exams, cell phones must be confiscated prior to the
beginning of the test in order for the students to avoid texting their classmates the answers.
Another reason why technology can be a bad idea in the classroom is because some of
these devices are very expensive and the benefits may be omitted because of the cost. Some low
income schools cant afford these devices for their students, so those schools have to go without.
All children, no matter what age, can be very rough with these expensive devices; the iPads, for
instance, can be dropped hundreds of times a week and can wind up breaking. I know for a fact
that everyone has experienced a delay in a presentation when the PowerPoint wont play right or
a video will not load. This, inevitably, is a very frustrating situation and can cause a massive
delay in the time of the presentation. Teachers in classrooms using the technology may not know
exactly how to work the devices and can hold up the lesson trying to fix whatever isnt working.
To answer the question of whether technology helps or hinders learning, you must first
look at how the educator is using the technology in his or her classroom. If they arent keeping a
good eye on the use of technology, then chances are, the students arent using the technology in
the right way. If the educator, has strict rules and is a great classroom manager, than the use of
devices in the classroom can be plenty beneficial. The second thing one needs to research is
which types of technological devices work best for which grade levels and ages. If one device
doesnt work with one group then it shouldnt be used. For example, if a class is very immature
and has difficulty with following instructions, a class activity using the iPad is probably not the
best route. Again, technology can be beneficial if and only if the teacher is clear with instructions
and the students are aware that the use of this device is a privilege and not a right, and they can
lose that privilege if they dont stay focused.

Madison Hopper

Digital Essay

3/12/15

References
Baughman, Scott. "Tech Teaching: How Does Technology Use Effect Student
Learning?" Claymont Schools. Web. 10 Mar. 2015.
<http://www.claymontschools.org/sbaughman/Portfolio/Works/Tech Teaching Project.pdf>.
Cheung, Alan, and Robert Slavin. "Effects of Educational Technology Applications on
Reading Outcomes for Struggling Readers: A Best-Evidence Synthesis." 277-99.
Web.
Miller, David, and Derek Robertson. "Using a Games Console in the Primary
Classroom: Effects of 'Brain Training' Programme on Computation and Selfesteem." 41: 242-55. Web.
Moratelli, Katelyn, and Nancy DeJarnette. "Clickers to the Rescue." 67. Print.
Sahakov, Roman. "2 Pros and 2 Cons to Education Technology." Edudemic. 15 Jan.
2014. Web. 9 Mar. 2015. <http://www.edudemic.com/education-technology-proscons/>.
Zucker, Tricia, Amelia Moody, and Michael McKenna. "The Effects of Electronic Books
on Pre-kindergarten-to-grade 5 Students' Literacy and Language Outcomes: A
Research Synthesis." 40: 47-87. Web.