Technology For The Win
The way that schooling has been approached has changed drastically over the past few years. Grade schools all over the United States are trying to prepare young students for the road ahead of them. May that be college or the workforce, grade school plays a huge part in developing a child into the student and person that they have and will become. As technology becomes more and more indispensable, the opinions on its place in the classroom setting have become a source of dispute. Some of these disputes include concerns about how students are affected now and how this may be preparing or possibly hindering them in their life after school. With all the new technological advances in education, teachers and students are changing and adapting the way they teach and learn; the outcomes of this direction, whether good or bad, are still heavily debated but are very important as this trend becomes more and more prevalent.
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With the rise of technology in the education field that has started to arise in most universities and colleges, grade schools are now starting to take part in using the technology to benefit their schools. An interview that was done on Dr. Kristy McIntyre, a 5th grade teacher at Wateree Elementary School in Lugoff, South Carolina talks about a new program that was brought in called eLearning that is going to transform the school and the entire district. An article found on The Washington Post by Lindsey Bever goes on to tell about the South Carolina School District that is going to be implementing eLearning into their curriculum. Bever goes on to write, “Sorry kids, no more all-day pajama parties, cartoon marathons and snowball fights when you’re really supposed to be in school.” Kids will now not have to miss class again for a weather day. The way eLearning works is teachers are to assign students with work for every subject. The students will then take-home tablets or laptops and then they must complete all of the work or they will be counted absent for the day. Dr. McIntyre is the head of the new program at her school and she speaks about how the program works and how the program will benefit the school now and possibly in the future. When asked how the program will benefit her school and students Dr. McInyre stated, “I believe that this initiative will bring KCSD into the technological future. Many school districts across the country have completed this initiative previously and have been grossly successful” (Personal Interview, 1 November 2018). These new technologies that grade schools are taking on is going to transform them for the years to come.
Since many elementary schools are now starting to implement technology into their curriculum, young students are becoming more engaged and the teachers are also finding it to be an awesome tool. An article by Susan Frey about technology being integrated into early grades she writes, “Whether solving math puzzles to help a penguin waddle across a computer screen or sounding out words in Mr. Sounders’ virtual classroom, K-2 students are increasingly embracing technology in California schools.” These programs used not only keep the young children’s attention but the students are actually learning. The programs notice where the students struggle at and where they are strong at. The programs then adjust to help the child where they struggle by focusing on their flaw and continuing to work the problem until the student fully comprehends the material. Frey says, “Teachers say the programs they are using adapt to the young students’ needs and give teachers time to delve more deeply into the reading and math concepts required under the Common Core State Standards.” Teachers are using these programs to introduce children to technology, as this will play a huge roll in their education for many years to come, while they also find it convenient because it catches the kids attention and they stay engaged in their school work which makes it easier on the teacher. Cindy Shannon, a kindergarten teacher states, “It’s almost like having another aide in the classroom, and they are learning to use technology.”
How does technology being introduced to students in grade school at a young age affect their learning styles and their social skills? Students that might have just started elementary school have not fully developed their learning styles yet. Technology can affect and change student’s learning style completely. When asked if the technology will affect the learning styles and social skills of students who strictly use eLearning Dr. McIntyre states, “It is a major concern of many parents. I believe that the communication of individuals is completely transforming from what was done 20 years ago to today.” Dr. McIntyre goes on to speak about how the social issues when talking face to face will decrease. Dr. McIntyre also states, “However, these interactions have been on a steady decline as more and more populations engage in technology-based conversations.” With society playing a huge part in the way technology is moving and where it is headed, people and students are having to adapt to the new era of education. Some students are finding it more convenient while others are finding it a constant trouble. Students being introduced to technology in education at such a young age are not aware of the possible affects that it may have on them in the future.
Even though most colleges and universities are starting to offer online classes and degrees, these institutions may not offer every class. As of which would cause students to take classes in a traditional setting. While in a traditional classroom there are some teachers and professors who teach by the old way which is directly out of the book. This would be a huge struggle for the students who go all the way from elementary and to high school and were constantly using technology as a source of education. Technology also affects students in other ways that may not be noticed at a young age. Even though kids are more prone to be engaged in education that is online it may also become a distraction to some. Student may be focusing on the wrong aspects of the learning by possibly being more concerned with the game that is teaching them rather than focusing on the actual material that is being implemented into the game. A blog post by Erin Riskey about the pros and cons of technology in the elementary classroom goes on to state, “Since mobile devices are automatically labeled as ‘fun,’ critics fear that kids will begin associating school with entertainment rather than learning, and this will negatively affect their learning capabilities.” Later in the blog Riskey goes on to talk about the potential affects that the technology may have on children’s emotions also. Riskey states, “Additionally, Psychologist Daniel Goleman worries that technology could hinder young students’ ability to pay attention and end up affecting their emotions as a result. This is due to the fact that the same area of the brain is responsible for attention span and emotion control.” Since technology is just now starting to be introduced into elementary school’s curriculum, many psychologists are just now starting to become aware of the long lasting effects that may be to come. Despite the potential health risk and possibly influencing laziness, you will still find children every day that continue to be stuck to a computer learning their alphabet or even doing math problems. Riskey goes on to state, “Overstimulation is a biggie here–if young kids have their faces shoved into a mobile device for many hours of the day, it can be hard for their brains to relax and unwind. This can lead to problems with behavior and sleep. Another thing to consider is brain development.” Lastly, Riskey believes that technology in elementary school is encouraging laziness. While a student is learning online the only movement that is needed is the fingers. Riskey makes the point that, “Since mobile devices give us tons of information right at our fingertips, kids might not feel the need to pick up an actual book or do traditional research like they did in the past.” While colleges are assigning research papers and requesting sources from books in the library and even textbook readings, these students may find it very hard to read and comprehend the readings out of library books or textbooks since they were never taught how to physically go and get information from printed books and perform traditional research.
All these ideas point to concerns that may be important to consider in how these children will adapt later on to college and the work force. As the students in grade school move on to college and the work force they may find it easier to take all the online classes that the colleges offer and for the students that go to work, they may find it easier to adapt to the workforce because of all the technology that is used. But at the same time, students may also find it rather difficult to have normal day to day conversations and possibly find it hard to learn in certain ways and environments. Students who were introduced to technology during grade school may have been affected socially which would make it very difficult to adapt to the nature of communication in the work force, and they also may have similar problems with their peers and professors in college.
Either way, these advances are affecting not only the educational system but they are also affecting the workforce and everyday life. Technology is forcing each new generation to slowly adapt to the new ways of life as technology begins to move into nearly every aspect of one’s life. As it was said, technology is beginning to play a huge role in the education system at all levels now. With young students beginning to be introduced to technology at a younger age, it is believed that these technological skills will not only prepare them for higher education but for the workforce where they may find it easier to do certain jobs involving technology. Students may take daily risks at young ages due to being introduced to technology but from the information gathered the positives that come out of using technological education starting in grade school has and will benefit students and future students and eventually the workforce.
- Blackwell, Courtney K., et al. “Factors Influencing Digital Technology Use in Early Childhood Education.” Computers & Education, vol. 77, Aug. 2014, pp. 82–90. EBSCOhost, doi:10.1016/j.compedu.2014.04.013.
- Bever, Lindsey. “A South Carolina School District Just Abolished Snow Days – and Will Make Students Learn Online.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 30 July 2018, www.washingtonpost.com/news/education/wp/2018/07/30/a-south-carolina-school-district-just-abolished-snow-days-and-will-make-students-learn-online/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.15c277f0e726.
- Ching-Ting Hsin, et al. “The Influence of Young Children’s Use of Technology on Their Learning: A Review.” Journal of Educational Technology & Society, vol. 17, no. 4, Oct. 2014, pp. 85–99. EBSCOhost, fmarion.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=99574660&login.asp&site=ehost-live&scope=site.
- Frey, Susan. “Technology Takes Hold in the Early Grades.” EdSource, 11 Feb. 2015, edsource.org/2015/technology-takes-hold-in-the-early-grades/74465.
- “Professors Ask, Is Classroom Clicking Better Learning?” Education Week, vol. 29, no. 28, Apr. 2010, p. 10. EBSCOhost, fmarion.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=50314652&site=ehost-live&scope=site.
- Ronan, Amanda. “The Pros and Cons of Technology.” Edudemic, 16 Jan. 2016, www.edudemic.com/technology-pros-cons/.
- “The Effects of Teacher Facilitation on the Social Interactions of Young Children During Computer Activities.” Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, vol. 25, no. 4, Winter 2005, pp. 208–217. EBSCOhost, fmarion.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=a9h&AN=19487683&login.asp&site=ehost-live&scope=site.