Before introducing students to new technology in the classroom, there are a few difficult questions that must be asked like student privacy, ownership of data and equal access across students. There are 3 more questions a teacher should ask students to avoid mistakes when introducing new technology in the classroom:
It is quite disheartening to see a teacher have a meltdown simply because a website is not working properly, the school WIFI is not working or students are having a problem using the technology altogether. If success in student learning is highly dependent upon the proper functioning of technology or the ability of the student to use it, there will be disappointment.
Connecting with students beyond the classroom is one of the biggest virtues of technology. For instance, a year ago, one of the university teachers decided to create a “global classroom” where students collaborated with students over 7 different countries. He was so happy to see the student being motivated and excited to write, research and solve problems related to the content. When it comes to teaching students opinion writing based on sound research, they worked with a classroom in the U.S to research and answer the question, “how effective is the use of electronics in your country?”
The teacher found that his students were staying up late at night just to see how the students in the U.S would respond to their posts and what they felt about the topic.
If they use technology for the sake of using it, then a student’s achievements will fall flat. For instance, digital textbooks could in the future replace paper textbooks, but will this change in itself strengthen students’ confidence or desire to read? Students could submit their reports in Google docs instead of writing or even typing and handing in paper. These platforms can offer efficient ways to collect assignments and provide electronic feedback, but will the task offer a learning experience? Furthermore, will the teacher see the same problems when the students submit their reports on paper- unclear thesis, poor essay structure and plagiarism?
The mistake is not in using the technology in these ways. The error is restricting students in using technology in such ways. If education technology only serves the idea of task efficiency and submitting the assignments, students will use technology in the class just enough to hate it. On the other hand, there is an app for it, doesn’t mean that the app is ideal for students learning needs. The key is principle and balance.
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