Clever, Samantha (2014, September 15). Technology in the classroom: Helpful or harmful? Retrieved from http://www.education.com/magazine/article/effective-technology-teaching-child/
In the article Technology in the Classroom: Helpful or Harmful?, Cleaver (2014) presents a few negatives and some positives of implementing technology in the classroom. It is evident that technology engages students and their learning; however, Cleaver claims that test scores have remained the same and therefore questions the effectiveness of technology integration. My question to that is, are we looking for technology to raise test scores or instead prepare our students to be 21st century learners?
According to Cleaver (2014), “Educators who receive new technology must first learn how to use the equipment and then decide whether or not it supports class objectives and curriculum.” That is, technology provides a challenge for teachers in the amount of time needed to learn the new technology as well as deciding where this technology best supports the curriculum – or not. I agree with this point because it is something I continue to struggle with as an educator. Where do teachers find the time to invest in this time-consuming process?
On the other hand, Cleaver (2014) also explains that technology is indeed beneficial to student learning. One way technology does this is by personalizing or differentiating for student learning, such as giving students games to play that scaffold or adjust the skill being practiced. Cleaver also states that educational technology can be an extension of the school day where students enjoy playing school-related games on the computer. Finally, Cleaver addresses a benefit of educational technology for educators. This being the immediate feedback/data that many programs offer to teachers in order to assess student progress. It is evident that the benefits of technology integration outweigh the negatives.
In this age of Common Core and RtI and PARCC (did I leave any out?), we should never do technology just for the sake of doing it – who has the time for that? As educators, we must continue to strive to make sound decisions on how technology can best support the curriculum, thus proving that the role of the teacher is still so important in the classroom. I am fortunate that in my district, I have a technology coach who I can collaborate with. This kind of support ensures that the technology tools I use in my classroom best support the curriculum and student learning.