Technology often enhances a class’ learning experience, but it can occasionally cause more problems than benefits. For many educators and administrators, the use of computers in the classroom represents advancement and improvement. However, there are times when technology may not be appropriate in the classroom. Here are five scenarios in which technology may hinder a student’s learning experience.

Students May Rush Through Their Work to Play. When teachers have classroom sets of iPads or laptops, they sometimes allow students to play games on those devices during any down time throughout the day. This becomes a problem when students rush through their work just to have more time to play games. Teachers may find that asking students to not use the technology once they are done with their bookwork will help them be more thorough with their work.

Students Need to Look Away from the Screen. Even if their device holds only educational games, children need a break from screens throughout their day. In 2016, the average American child spent about five to seven hours per day looking at a screen. The study also shows that too much screen time can lead to difficulty sleeping as well as increase the likelihood of attention problems, anxiety and depression. Although parents hold most of the responsibility when it comes to limiting children’s screen time, teachers can help parents reduce the excessive amount of time spent on screens by encouraging students to read, color or work on another assignment if they finish classwork early.

Computer Use Could Reveal Economic Disparity. Teachers should also not use technology when it highlights financial inequalities between classmates. In school systems not providing students one-to-one access to computers, teachers may choose to assign in-class projects involving personal laptops or smartphones. If a teacher frequently assigns tasks that can only be completed through a personal laptop or smartphone, he or she should assess whether all of the students will be able to participate in the activity. Students who cannot afford computers or smartphones might feel embarrassed and isolated from those who can.

Teachers Need Training to Get the Most Out of Technology in the Classroom. If school systems require teachers to use new technology in their lesson plans, then the school systems should create professional development seminars to help teachers learn best practices when it comes to the use of the technology. Trying to integrate a new device or new software into a lesson becomes stressful if the teacher must also take his or her own time and resources to understand the technology. Having a technology seminar can not only help teachers craft successful computer-related lesson plans and units, it can also assure safe, secure and responsible behavior online.

Students May Use Computers Inappropriately. Living in a digital age, many students become accustomed to learning how to use new technology quickly. They also learn how to by-pass rules and instructions about proper technology use quickly. In order to successfully integrate technology, a school needs to create consistent guidelines for the acceptable and appropriate use of technology. Schools can also adopt computer word and phrase monitoring that provides real-time alerts about online behavior that puts students at risk. By building digital boundaries, schools can teach students how to use technology responsibly, appropriately and successfully.

Words by Melissa Lawrence


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