Although in Lebanon not many schools use technology in the classroom, it is one of the growing trends abroad. It’s difficult to be 100% for the use of educational technology all of the time, when there are so many convincing arguments against it. Let’s look at the pros and cons.
One of the pros of technology is for the teachers. It allows teachers to see where students may be missing particular pieces of understanding and to then target lessons just for that knowledge. Instead of sitting through hour-long lectures of material they’ve mostly mastered, technology is allowing students to learn what they need, when then need it.
Educational apps also allow students to progress at their own pace. Many are adaptive, meaning that questions and problems will get easier or more difficult, depending on student performance. Programs can adjust to meet students at their precise learning levels.
Incorporating technology into the classroom means that students have exposure and access to different ways of learning. Maybe some students do thrive in a lecture environment; others might be great independent learners, who can gather information from educational software. Giving students the choice of different ways to learn means they’ll likely explore and try different techniques.
When it comes to the cons, many tech enthusiasts roll their eyes at the following argument. People voice their concerns that educational technology is a way to replace teachers in the future. But do their concerns lack validity? You don’t have to look too far in the past to find instances of technology replacing workers: the auto industry, agriculture, and manufacturing industries have all mechanized many parts of their process, laying off workers in the process.
But the number one worry of teachers who consider implementing classroom technology is the concern that students will be too busy tweeting and Snapchatting to pay attention to the lesson. Students’ tech savvy could lead to more online socializing in environments where devices are easily accessible.
Then there’s plagiarism. Students today can easily access essays, reports, class notes, tests, etc. online, making it that much more difficult for teachers to know if the work their students hand in is original.
Privacy of student information and data is enough of an issue to keep many teachers and schools away from implementing any sort of broad reaching tech initiatives. Apps and platforms have come a long way in improving their privacy measures, especially where students are involved, but it is not enough to convince schools that it’s worth the potential risk.
Where do you stand on this issue?