Technology is an ever-popular source of education, activism, and life as a whole. It’s important for us to begin to adapt to that in the classroom as well. The negative connotations surrounding technology can often leave students feeling misunderstood. Bans on tech have the reverse effects of actually making students feel isolated. Students in high school and post-secondary environment are already well-versed in digital technologies like social media and phone use, so why not integrate that into the classroom instead of banning it? Here are 10 reasons today’s students need technology in the classroom.
Many students have issues writing by hand and this is no fault of their own. Being able to use a laptop in class is essential for being able to take notes and record important information that they will need to use on tests and assignments. There are other accessibility needs that technology meets as well, such as meeting various diverse learning requirements. Not everyone learns in the same way, and technology can help some in ways that a pencil and paper can help others.
2. Group Work
Many classes in the second year of university and beyond have group assignments that require the sharing of information. Having technology within class means that it’s easier to share contact information with everyone and create an environment where people are to actively use class time to work on a project. It’s much easier to let someone type their name into your computer than it is to copy it down by hand.
3. Active Learning
Being able to highlight and follow along with readings and lectures while in class can be a huge benefit to students. It can help students focus more on the lecturer and be an active part of the learning process. Things like Kahoot quizzes can be used to test students knowledge in class and also provide them with some entertainment to encourage the fun of learning. iClickers can also be useful in the same way and ensuring that students are participating in their own learning.
4. Digital-Age Life Skills
The world has become a digital wholly digitalized space. There is little we do that does not use some kind of technological device. Teaching life skills today must involve computer skills and social media awareness. A big aspect of this is that almost every social movement or development has technological implications. Cyber-feminism, cyber-crime, cyber-art, cyber-advertising. All things that I have studied, and which the use of technology has helped me study, both inside and outside of the classroom. Academia is not a separate institution, cut off the from the rest of the world. The integration of technology is essential for students to have a contemporary understanding of society.
5. Supplementary Materials
In addition to the work taught in class, sometimes reading lecture slides on your own computer can be a good supplement to the actual lecture. A good way of showing students an example of something is to let them experience for themselves and provide them with a link to a website where they can practice a specific skill. The technology in the classroom itself can also serve as a more efficient way to process the information; you are able to create a table or chart to organize information on a Word document, and this is not as easy to on paper. As well, devices like Smart Boards can be easy interactive tools that help educators do a better job creating visuals with responsive interfaces so students can always be engaged.
Though ‘multitasking’ is not scientifically possible, it’s an idea that students have to deal with when they live a busy lifestyle. Sitting through a three-hour lecture can be both mentally and physically strenuous. Sometimes multitasking is a way for students to actually focus better. Many of my peers agree that checking your phone in class can help us to stay awake or stay present, rather than completely zoning out of the lecture. We also have a lot on our plates, and being able to work on other assignments during breaks or even during a lecture that isn’t useful can save us a lot of time.
7. Computer Science/Math Students
Most of my math, science, and computer science peers have told me that technology is built into their course designs. These fields are becoming increasingly digitalized and shaped by developments in new technologies. It’s obvious why computer science students need computers, but or example, it’s also beneficial for math and engineering students to have their laptops and phones to use graphing software and other mathematical tools.
8. Enrichment of Learning Materials
Imagine reading this article without images. Not as fun, right? Video, images, and other digital information sources can be good ways of engaging students and adding an extra layer to learning beyond the professor or teacher. Videos and visuals are things that appeal to this generation because of our need for visual stimulation and instant gratification. Using videos and images as exemplars are something more and more professors are doing.
9. We Care About The Environment
Handouts of readings waste paper! So does piles and piles of notebooks. Allowing technology in the classroom means that students aren’t forced to write with paper: they have a choice. And that means there’s going to be less use of paper, and hopefully, we get to save more trees.
10. Handy Dandy Readings
In my classes, readings are often referenced in each lecture. It helps to have these readings on hand during class in order to refer to them. It’s also nice to not carry around huge stacks of books and paper. Most of my readings are assigned digitally, so it just makes sense to be able to access them digitally in class. They’re also quicker and easier to navigate this way. Doing a quick COMMAND + F is better than flipping through pages to find the quote the prof is referring to.