New Teachers

Technology in the classroom

I have recently started substitute teaching and work in a wide variety of classrooms. Many of these classes are equipped with an iPad or laptop for every child. While I can see the benefit of using technology for learning purposes, I am wondering if it causes more harm than good? For example, I often catch students off task when they are supposed to be using this technology for an assignment. They are doing things like listening to music, taking pictures of themselves, or playing games. Is this shift towards a more technologically-based classroom really better than the good old fashioned way of learning? Or is it creating even bigger problems?

Hailee Castro
Hailee Castro
695 Activity Points

Students have always had ways to be off task - doodling, passing notes, playing paper pencil games like tic-tac-toe and others. Students have to be monitored and re-directed to remain on task in any context, low-tech or high -tech. There are software solutions, like Lanschool, that can help teachers keep students off sites they should not be on, as well as monitor where they are going remotely - holding them more accountable.

Cris DeWolf
Cris DeWolf
11925 Activity Points

I agree with Cris. Kids will always find a way to be off tasks and so will adults in similar situation. Have something extra to do for the very fast student or plan for more work then time available knowing that not all will accomplish the hole task. To me the best way to handle this is to walk around the room constantly monitoring students progress and they will not go off task thinking you will be seeing them do that. In my classroom I always placed the monitors facing the center of the room so I can constantly watch what was going on. For the iPad I would insist they be placed on the desk in view. Hope this helps. Adah

Adah Stock
Adah Stock
101510 Activity Points

My classroom is a Dual language classroom that consist of monolingual students wanting to become proficient in Spanish and Spanish speaking students becoming proficient in English. So when it comes to technology it helps a lot for the monolingual students get use to speaking and seeing Spanish words.

Cinthia Rodriguez
Cinthia Rodriguez
4505 Activity Points

Your bring up some interesting points. Incorporating technology can be both beneficial to students but it can also be a distraction for them if not supervised properly. In my opinion, I think that teachers are going to use iPads or laptops in the class it should be in small groups. That way the teacher can be supervise the students who are using the electronic devices. The teacher can have an activity where the students route around the classroom to different stations and work on different activities. Some students can work on the iPads/laptops while other students are using books or doing worksheets. There are many different ways teachers can monitor what students do on the electronic deceives to ensure that they stay focused on the activity at hand. Hopes this helps a little. Good luck in your classes!! :)

Laura Tun
Laura
1840 Activity Points

Technology is a wonderful tool when it is used appropriately. I agree that children must be redirected and supervised when using technology. I also believe that it is important for educators to understand that even though technology is great, open class discussions and outdoor learning environments and activities must be provided too!

Adrienne Aviles
Adrienne Aviles
2145 Activity Points

Technology is a wonderful tool when it is used appropriately. I agree that children must be redirected and supervised when using technology. I also believe that it is important for educators to understand that even though technology is great, open class discussions and outdoor learning environments and activities must be provided too! Our society and our children are evolving and we must keep up with it. Technology is one way we can do that!

Adrienne Aviles
Adrienne Aviles
2145 Activity Points

It is not really causing more problems than existed before, just new ones!!!

Betty Paulsell
Betty Paulsell
48550 Activity Points

Hailee, I too am quite concerned about the over reliance of technology in our classrooms. Yes, there are some benefits, but what is lost? We need more research in this area. I do not think that we have thought about how the iPad changes so much of everyday learning and classroom dynamics.

Susan Raphael
Susan Raphael
2415 Activity Points

I am also concerned since our school might have I-pads or Chromebooks next year.

Gabriela Loria
Gabriela Loria
1150 Activity Points

To me allowing electronics that are not cellular phones into the schools is just setting the stage for ultimately distraction and misuse of the purpose of the electronic. Sure there are multiples ways of blocking student from accessing the internet or certain site; but lets be honest student now and day are much more technologically savvy and have many ways to find their way around the system. It does not surprise me though how blind legislature are about permitting BOD, they still can't seem to figure out what they want to use as an assessment to go along with the common care. Yet care about the sanity and economical status of us teachers. As seeing that BOD is going to be implemented soon, i only question what will happen to those students who can't afford an electronic device or urban school that barely have any technological resources provided by the county? Best said has No Child Left Behind been considered? I mean it does clearly state all children have the right to an appropriate education, so how is this possible when some children don't have the luxury to even carry around a number 2 pencil?

Christina Perez
christina Perez
770 Activity Points

Hi Hailee, I think there are definitely valid arguments to both sides of this issue. Now that schools are allowing students to bring in technology it gives the teacher one more job to do. As teachers we must find ways to make it so that the technology is used as a tool rather than a burden. My outlook is that since schools will eventually be letting students use technology we should start adjusting to working with it. While an iPad can bring distractions into a class, it can also bring a wealth of information that was not previously available. Giving students tasks that are interesting it them will help to keep them on task. Also, it will be essential to set up a system for managing your class while they are using technology. I suggest implementing rules that say that the devise needs to be on top of the desk and visible or only one tab to be open. When students are using the technology monitor them closely to discourage any site browsing. Finally, remind students that the technology should only be used at designated times when called for by the teacher. I hope this advice helps. Jessica Bauer

Jessica Bauer
Jessica Bauer
1190 Activity Points

Hello Hailee : I understand why you are concern with too much technology been use in class because probably you feel computers, iPad and cell phones are a big distraction for students ; But you have to see the positive side of things.Computers and iPad in the classrooms can be very helpful in the students educations . As we are inform in the Internet there are many educational games and websites that teach about everything relate to science and other subjects . At the same time I do believe this technology equipments when are use in schools should be use only for educational purpose ,any other site not relate to school purpose should be block so the students would not be able to use it for their personal use .

Maday Torres
Maday Torres
1220 Activity Points

I love the discussion topic and responses thus far! I have always been one to want to wrap my hands around the newest, latest technology. Like anything else, it must be used and not abused. This reminds me of our tried and true definition of technology: a tool that is designed and created so that it can be used to solve a problem. Even pencil and paper can be useful or misused in a classroom. Like everything else, we teachers need to set the parameters, explain how to appropriately use the day's technology, and then allow our students to become actively and genuinely engaged in learning and understanding science using the tools they are most familiar with - and it's not a pencil! Just one opinion :-) Carolyn

Carolyn Mohr
Carolyn Mohr
86483 Activity Points

I think there are positive and negative ideas about technology. I think it can be a great resources and help teachers show students more than they previously had. Unfortunately I think our younger generations rely on technology a lot and I don't know how healthy that is. Children are using I-pads and cell phones at such a young age now. But does this mean that they will be more interested and engaged? I think we need to teach to the student needs but I don't know if this is really the appropriate students needs we need to teach too. I definitely think there are mixed feelings about this situation.

Ashley Kirkwood
Ashley Kirkwood
455 Activity Points

Hi Hailee, I also worry about this issue! In my current placement (5th grade) I have caught a few students off task on their ipads, but it was much less that I anticipated. I think one key aspect of using ipads is that students must be held accountable for their time spent using technology. Unfortunately as a substitute teacher we don't have as many opportunities to monitor student work and discipline those who are off task.

Ashlee Crider
Ashlee Crider
205 Activity Points

Hi all-

This is a very interesting, and very relevant conversation for this "era" in teaching, isn't it?! I accepted a new position in my district this year, and am now a technology integration specialist. I came from teaching in a 4th/5th grade classroom with 1:1 devices (Chromebooks), and this year I see everything from the NO technology zones, to classrooms that have every imaginable emerging technology there is to have. What I notice is that the technology itself does not matter as much as the management that is set up to run it. The teachers who have very clear expectations and provice explicit instruction on how the devices (whatever they may be) are to be used, and more specifically not to be used, have the most success. I have worked closely with a first grade teacher who has had incredible success implementing 1:1 iPad in her classroom. Her students' successes this year have far exceeded those of her grade-level partners'... and I thing that therein lies the major downside. At this point in educational technology, the inequity in opportunity is huge. Those with access to the tools and the training/support and ability to really successfully use them are able to do things that other teachers simply can't do. For example, differentiation of instruction is much easier when one can customize an enrichment activity, a supplemental task, or an intervention tool. Again, though, it comes down to management; a "differentiated" activity in a chaotic classroom just looks like more chaos.

It will be intersting to see how curricula (ex: Project Lead the Way) that embrace technology change the educational landscape in the next few years! Good luck muddling your way through this topic!

Andrea Brucker
Andrea Brucker
590 Activity Points

Andrea brings up some excellent points - that it is the instruction, not the tools, that determine if the students are working on what they are supposed to be doing. While trying to not show my age, these same arguments were made when they started putting TVs in classrooms, and probably for phones, film projectors (maybe books!!!!).

I also agree, that training is important. But more important is the willingness of the teachers to learn and share new teaching methods that work. Most 1:1 schools I know of have things students do during the day that do not require the tablets and students are expected to put them away and use the old-fashioned paper and pencil technology. Which brings to mind, that balance is necessary in everything we do as we teach. While it would be interesting to teach nothing but all inquiry all the time, there are things we teach that students learn better by using different teaching methods. Same for the old phonics vs whole language thingy from previous decades. In each instance we need to make thoughtful decisions concerning the best mode of delivery for information for different content goals and different age levels.

And one last question - what constitutes "playing" vs "learning"? I learned more new vocabulary reading comic books as a child than I would have reading "children's literature". I enjoy playing volleyball much more than doing calisthenics (or pilates for the younger peeps). We can subtly control how students "play" and make these learning experiences as well. So where is the line between "goofing off" and 'learning" and how can we control the former to turn it into the latter (without the students the wiser)?

Tina Harris
Tina Harris
65805 Activity Points

I am a very old school person but I feel I understand why we have technology in the classroom. Many children need to learn how to use it since in the adult world, these things are all we use for class, work, and even our own personal life. The thing is to set rules when using technology. You have to set a time when it is time to learn and time to play. They can get time to play only if the whole lesson is finished. You can use the technology as a reward system. If you see someone off task, take them off the i-pad for a certain amount of time, if they are repeat offenders then take them off for a day and take away 5-min from recess since they cannot get it together and focus. We really need to set expectations when handling laptops, computer, and i-pads. We also have to teach them how to properly use them. I've seen many kids drop i-pads and laptops and not even flinch or try to prevent from doing it again. Technology isn't going anywhere, so we need make sure we keep up.

Stephanie Camacho
Stephanie Camacho
1780 Activity Points

I agree with Stephanie. We are preparing children for the adult world and schools are wanting to integrate technology whenever it is possible. I am also surprised that I have not seen more students off task. Maybe it is just because it is the first few weeks of school and they do not want to get in trouble. I also agree with the other comments, some students will always find a way to be off task, these are just new ways. I actually think more students stay on task using the iPads.

Jessica McDaniel
Jessica McDaniel
2440 Activity Points

This is a great debate, and I have taught enough professional development classes on BYOD [bring your own device] and tech in the classroom that I can argue either side all day long. We DO lose touch time, direct instruction, classroom management, and the comfort of the known when we try to infuse technology in our classrooms. But we cannot deny that access to information and the ability to both digest and create digital media with our students is changing how our classrooms, school day and school paradigm is structured. Adam Bellow is a rabid proponent of technology in the classroom. The video below is a condensed version of his much longer keynote from 2011. Even if you do not agree with his point of view, you will be left thinking....it is worth watching. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7vevGmzmWnI" target="_blank">Adam Bellow's speech

Caryn Meirs
Caryn Meirs
26205 Activity Points

I believe the use of technology is a great tool to incorporate into the classroom.

Sarah Sanchez
Sarah Sanchez
1555 Activity Points

As a student teacher in a private school for students with disabilities my school thrives on technology for students. However, I've come across a lot of difficulties with technology over the past several months (I used to think I was great with technology). Often times I find that our Kindles or iPads aren't always updated. Teachers take these technology resources, use them, but don't really care for them. I think I wouldn't have as many issues with the use of the Kindles and iPads in the classroom if I didn't spend so much time loading up books, new apps, or making sure the software is up to date. While technology is awesome and it's mind blowing to see how the students use it, it's important to have someone that is dedicated to keeping up with the devices so that teachers are actually able to use them. However, some positive things I've noticed about technology in the classroom; students are more receptive to activities if they can be plugged in and I've seen better quality work being submitted. Another thing is my students are so up to date with technology and how the devices work that they don't really need a background on the app or device they are using. They know exactly how to use it, what resources/apps they need to access, and off they go!

Molly McGinnis
Molly McGinnis
2415 Activity Points

I am definitely all for the use of technology in classrooms. I personally feel that if done right technology can keep students focused for a longer period of time. However, don't just give students simple games or boring things to do on devices instead look for meaningful tasks for them to complete. For example, interactive labs for science would be great if you don't get to do labs in the classroom. Students are engaged and excited about learning. You are definitely preparing students for the future because technology is all around us and it has become almost necessary to know how to use it!

Leslie Gonzalez
Leslie Gonzalez
2260 Activity Points

Technology is evolving, and as teachers finding the appropriate use of technology and implementing it in classrooms can be a tool to guide children in the direction of success. I believe if you incorporate the technology correctly and it serves a purpose then it should be used. As a teacher, you want to make sure what you have students use technology for is meaningful and engaging. I am a currently a student teacher, and in my field placement I have seen students use technology such as laptops and IPads. The students are not using the technology to kill time, but rather they are continuing their learning by what the teacher has them doing with the technology. Purposefully planning what the students will be doing with the technology they use can positively impact the students learning.

Najwa Al-Mohamed
Najwa Al-Mohamed
4280 Activity Points

Technology is evolving, and as teachers finding the appropriate use of technology and implementing it in classrooms can be a tool to guide children in the direction of success. I believe if you incorporate the technology correctly and it serves a purpose then it should be used. As a teacher, you want to make sure what you have students use technology for is meaningful and engaging. I am a currently a student teacher, and in my field placement I have seen students use technology such as laptops and IPads. The students are not using the technology to kill time, but rather they are continuing their learning by what the teacher has them doing with the technology. Purposefully planning what the students will be doing with the technology they use can positively impact the students learning.

Najwa Al-Mohamed
Najwa Al-Mohamed
4280 Activity Points

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