Technology in the Classroom: 6 Ways to Get the Balance Right

smithwillas
Apr 23, 2019 · 5 min read

Imagine you’re a mechanic. You’ve built up your trade and honed your skills painstakingly over the years. Your hands are your dependable tools and you rely on them for all the important tasks. Suddenly, your boss comes and tells you that robots are going to be introduced to the workforce, and you are expected to work side-by-side.

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Photo by Andy Kelly on Unsplash

What was once exclusively your domain has now been infiltrated by machines. It’s the same predicament facing teachers everywhere. Technology is slowly but surely creeping into the classroom setting and a healthy balance is necessary.

Australian schools were the first to highlight the need for balance when the number of computers exceeded the number of students. However, this did not improve student performance. Thus, gone are the days when educational institutions could simply invest in computers and expect advancements in learning.

Arguments have been forwarded questioning the advantages of technology in classrooms. Some studies have even listed more cons than benefits. Others have associated screen time to increased screen addiction, anxiety, blurred vision, ADHD, aggression, dizziness, and depression.

There is also the constant fear that in an effort to join the bandwagon, schools may risk the cognitive, communication skill, critical thinking, and interpersonal development of the kids. So, it is imperative that teachers utilize technology in balanced ways to build skills and enhance learning. The six tips below offer a blueprint of sorts:

1. Use Multiple Modes of Communication

Teachers should be encouraged to experiment with two or more modes, like spatial, audio, or visual. Given the endless opportunities available, making animations, digital games, ebooks, blogs, and videos are the modern ways of exhibiting literacy that encompass innovative combinations of these modes.

The curriculum in Australia has, in fact, made multimodal literacies an actual requirement for students. Over 200 learning outcomes are connected with this kind of literacy, starting from preparatory classes all the way till the 12th standard. Educators need to lend their support to the children when it comes to creating multimodal designs, even for simple as drawing a digital diagram. This is a great way to ensure the educational benefits in spite of the prevalence of technology.

We weren’t kidding when we used the example of the mechanic earlier. Close to half of the existing jobs are at risk of being disrupted by the rise of technology in the next two decades. All of the jobs tracking a fast rate of growth need multimodal designs and digital communication skills, like architecture or engineering.

2. Add Some Creativity to the Use of Technology

The lecture-style content found in educational software should be avoided at all costs as it forces children to think inside the box and submit rote responses. Go for platforms that boost the children’s confidence and allow them to think for themselves. Not only does this help the students learn better but it also makes it easier to memorize information.

Opt for technologies that boost critical thinking, problem solving, and interactive skills. For instance, instead of promoting the use of automated spell check and grammar corrections software, motivate primary grade students to follow traditional grammar and writing textbooks, and only rely on technology to improve their work. Educational games that foster exploration or websites that encourage the user to express creativity or solve problems are good examples.

3. Focus on Collaboration

Teachers should try incorporating distributed expertise where all classmates are supposed to assist each other in areas of their respective digital strengths instead of looking to the teacher as the only guiding force. This greatly benefits the kids by developing their soft skills, like teamwork, communication, and creative thinking.

4. Keep the Movement Going

According to research, the brain stays more active when the subject is moving. A child’s cognition is strongly connected to his/her bodily interactions with the world. Therefore, learning and technology use need not be completely devoid of motion. For example, teachers can place QR codes around the classroom so children can scan them and learn more about augmented reality apps.

5. Take a Break from the Media

6. Show Solidarity for Cyber Citizenship

Concluding Remarks

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smithwillas

Written by

Smith Willas is a blogger, freelance writer with online marketing agency in Florida.

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Elijah McClain, George Floyd, Eric Garner, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Michael Brown, Oscar Grant, Atatiana Jefferson, Tamir Rice, Bettie Jones, Botham Jean

smithwillas

Written by

Smith Willas is a blogger, freelance writer with online marketing agency in Florida.

HackerNoon.com

Elijah McClain, George Floyd, Eric Garner, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Michael Brown, Oscar Grant, Atatiana Jefferson, Tamir Rice, Bettie Jones, Botham Jean

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