Technology in the Classroom Enhances Learning: Does it or Does it Not

 

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The debates have begun! Each week, from now until April 12th, two students from EDTC 400 will participate in a debate.  This week’s debate topic was “technology in the classroom enhances learning.” In one corner, fighting for the topic, was Ashlee! In the other corner, fighting against the topic, was Raeann! Who won me over? You will have to keep reading to find out!

Proposition: “Technology in the Classroom Enhances Learning”

Prior to the debate, this is the stance that I took. For me, the thought of school without technology was miserable. I mean, how could I not learn more from a Smartboard than a whiteboard? The answer was obvious- I couldn’t.

If there was any doubt in my mind that technology enhanced learning in the classroom, it vanished after hearing Ashlee’s argument. The points that she made include: Technology allows global collaboration; It is an efficient resource that strengthens students; It is multimedia that can adapt to its user’s needs; And lastly, it allows access to substantial gains. As a student, I know all of these points to be true. Technology has enabled me to collaborate with other students without even having to leave my house; it has made me aware of grammar, punctuation, and spelling mistakes in my assignments, as well as helped me fix those mistakes; it has read my textbooks to me when my migraines were so severe I couldn’t read; and it has given me easy access to millions of articles, journals, books, podcasts, videos, and other resources. Technology has truly transformed my education for the better. According to “The Value of Multimedia in Learning”:

“Integrating multimedia in the classroom can allow students to apply real-world skills, learn effective collaboration techniques, learn creative ways of expressing their ideas, and synthesize complex content”. —  summarized by Courts and Tucker

Surely, from the points made by Ashlee and the texts provided, there are no faults to technology in the classroom… right? I was totally and completely convinced that technology did in fact enhance learning in the classroom.

Opposition: “Technology in the Classroom Does Not Enhance Learning”

I thought there was no way that I could be convinced technology doesn’t enhance learning, that is until the opposition came in guns a’blazing.

Ashlee had some pretty strong points, I mean, I thought the debate was pretty much done right then and there, but Raeann wasn’t about to give up a fight. Her argument included the following points: Technology acts as a distraction; It changes the morality about cheating; It is overused; It is ill-considered when implemented, and; there is no proof that it helps the learner. While Raeann had many convincing points to her argument, the point that resonated with me most was that technology is ill-considered when implemented. I began to consider those students who aren’t as tech savvy as their peers or whose families cannot afford today’s technology. In his article, “The Dark Side of Educational Technology”, Mathew Lynch explains:

“A Tableau survey of over 27,000 students found that around 12 percent of students in the Madison Metropolis School District do not have access to the Internet… Similarly, only 78 percent of low-income students have access to the Internet, compared with 98 percent of students that did not fall into the low-income category.”

It is difficult for me to imagine today’s youth growing up without internet access at home, yet for many it is a reality, one that affects how students will respond to technology in the classroom. As Raeann put it:

“Is technology worth its consequences in the classroom?”

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And The Winner Is…

Despite Raeann’s powerful argument, in the end I still agree that overall, technology in the classroom enhances learning. I must say however, that in my experience, when my teachers lack interest in technology, or are “tech deficient”, it becomes harder to use technology to its fullest potential. In the article “Using Technology to Create a Dynamic Classroom Experience a study conducted by Agodini, Dynarski, Honey, and Levin demonstrates this phenomenon. The study concluded that, “enhancement in learning did occur in schools where teachers demonstrated an interest in using technology and the schools had the infrastructure to support technology initiatives.” Perhaps then, I might conclude that technology in its self might not enhance learning in the classroom, but that technology in the right hands and with the right resources, will. 

Now I want to know what you think. Are you with Ashlee and agree that technology enhances learning in the classroom? Or are you with Raeann and disagree? Let me know by commenting below!

 

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3 thoughts on “Technology in the Classroom Enhances Learning: Does it or Does it Not

  1. Hi Tiana,
    Awesome blog post! I love how you incorporated personal experiences to explain first hand how the arguments influenced your schooling experience. I too agree with you and Ashlee, however, I believe technology only has the POTENTIAL to enhance learning. It is not a guarantee that it will and it will be problematic if educators believe that it automatically will prior to learning about how to successfully implement it in their classrooms.

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    1. Hi Kendall,
      You have a very valid point! In Courts and Tucker’s article, the study conducted by Agodini, Dynarski, Honey, and Levin concluded, “enhancement in learning did occur in schools where teachers demonstrated an interest in using technology and the schools had the infrastructure to support technology initiatives.” Courts and Tucker found that when the interest and infrastructure were not present, then technology did not enhance learning. Therefor, in the end, I had to conclude that technology in itself might not enhance learning but, technology in the right hands could.

      Isn’t it awesome that we have ed. tech classes such as EDTC 400 and EDTC 300 to better equip teachers with technological understandings. I think all teachers should have to take classes such as these to help reduce the cases where technology doesn’t enhance learning.

      Thanks for the comment!

      -Tiana

      Like

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