In recent years, technology has grown to a point that it now dominates our classrooms. With the addition of iPads, PCs and other electronic devices in classrooms, it’s no different in Great Neck. Not a single person in our community who’s involved in our education system can say that these additions haven’t affected our classrooms, but the debated point is whether or not technology really helps students.
There are several clear benefits to using technology in classrooms. It opens up many more methods of teaching that do not involve as many materials, and they are much more interactive and convenient.
One of the most recent additions of technology in our classrooms were iPad tablets. This, without much surprise, is one of the most controversial decisions made by the Board of Education, clearly shown by the immediate appearance of parents taking sides on the matter. Although the addition of iPads has some downsides, there are also many benefits. First, kids will not have to lug around stacks of binders and books every day if they have all the materials they need on a compact tablet, thus saving precious teaching time and lessening the physical burden of traditional textbooks. With iPads, electronic versions of textbooks can be easily distributed to each student, saving money and making things more convenient.
Another source of technology students are gaining access to is Google Classroom, which allows students to receive homework and classwork assignments digitally, theoretically saving time and allowing for more functionality than having everything in a physical agenda. This has other benefits as well, including saving paper and physical hassle, which are two of the major benefits all technology in classrooms have to offer.
Conversely, opponents to the advancement of technology in classrooms contend that students are not learning as much from staring at a screen, and that funding should be focused elsewhere. As a student raised and taught in an educational system that makes use of the latest technology, I can confirm that this claim is true. Technology can easily sidetrack you with applications such as YouTube and social media. Moreover, prolonged use of iPads or computers can strain eyes.
Another downside of technology in classrooms is that certain students will find a way to take advantage of it for their own uses. In my eighth-grade class, our school’s technology department was repeatedly forced to change Apple ID passwords so students couldn’t download apps. Whenever they did, however, students would eventually guess it or find another bypass. This culminated in a constant back-and-forth struggle between the technology department and the students.
Everything that benefits us will always have its drawbacks, and technology is no exception. There are very obvious benefits of technology in classrooms, but there are also very pressing drawbacks. The way we incorporate technology into the classroom will largely impact students of the next generation, so it’s important that we find a way to incorporate it positively. Will it improve our ways of teaching future generations? Or, will it cause unsolvable problems that will hold back our education system? The only thing we can do is wait and see how our ways of teaching change as technology gains more dominance in our classrooms.
Brandon Lin completed eighth grade at Great Neck North in June.