New Technology in the Classroom: Are New Technologies Effective in the Classroom?
2019-05-21 Elizaveta Pachina Alumni Experiences
Recently there was a debate on whether technology should be used in the classroom. It intern created these questions; is it profitable in the long run? Is it worth the money for parents? Are we as educators feeding into the technology movement? Breslin, McKeown, & Groves (2012), states “technology refers to methods, systems, and devices which are the result of scientific knowledge being used for practical purposes.”
It is important to note that some students are already interested in and engaged in using technology. Mareco (2017), pointed out “Technology is entwined in almost every part of our culture. It affects how we live, work and plays and most importantly learn.” As a result, it creates opportunities for teachers and schools to benefit from teaching and allowing students to learning more effectively. (Savvidis, 2016) New technologies in the classroom are highly effective when it comes to learning, however, too much reliance can take away the human aspect of information diaspora.
This post was written by our TEFL certification graduate Shannon T. Please note that this blog post might not necessarily represent the beliefs or opinions of ITTT.
Technology for knowledge retention
New technology is somewhat effective in the classroom because it improves knowledge retention. In this case, knowledge retention would be referred to as the use of memory. Heshmat (2015), claimed, “A normal function of emotion is to enhance memory in order to improve recall of experiences that have importance or relevance.” Technology helps students to remember the information in the lesson because it is regarded as fun.
For a student, it may become highly repetitive to read the textbook and copy information from the board. A drawback is that children also need human interaction with their classmates in order to have basic social interactions that technology often dismiss. Some teachers may have the gift to entertain students however, technology allows students to learn the same information in different ways. Instead of learning the same information on several occasions by the same teacher, technology could be a temporary replacement. For example, If the teacher is covering ‘parts of speech’ in a lesson and students are having a hard time distinguishing the difference; no matter the many revisions.
The teacher could play a ‘YouTube’ video of a catchy song on a projector explaining the difference between a ‘verb’ and an ‘adverb’. A fun video will help students remember the content better than repeating the information over. This is significant because Heshmat (2015), restated “an emotionally charged event is remembered better than those of neutral events.”
Technology for individual learning
New technology is somewhat effective in the classroom because it encourages individual learning. It is now easier for any student to learn more about their chosen foreign language due to the simplicity of the internet. Technology is now a gateway to new information that was once unachievable. A pitfall is students may take advantage of this luxury to do non-academic activities.
As a result, restrictions must be created by teachers to monitor students’ actions. For example, programs that allow teachers to track students online progress. It can, therefore, encourage students who want to learn beyond the class or are slower than the class to take the initiative to improve on their own. For slow learners, there are many websites that further breakdown the language structure in simple ways. For example, the website ‘online English grammar’ and ‘FluentU’. There are also apps that are designed especially for students who crave practice. For example, Schmehl (2019), informed: “the app ‘Duolingo’ is a free language learning site for beginning learners who want to learn the basics and an after-class review of important grammar and vocabulary topics.”
‘Pleco’ is another app that can be used as a way for clarification and find the translation or definition of a word. This is significant as it will help students to catch-up with the class. Students no longer must wait on the teacher to explain everything and it is also practiced outside of the classroom.
Technology as a time-saver
New technology is somewhat effective in the classroom because it can benefit teachers. Technology appeases teachers because they can save a lot of time by preparing another activity while the class is engaged. For example, the teacher can mark a previous assignment or do board work while the class listen to a podcast or watch a movie.
Valuable time can also be used for working with students who are struggling. Teachers can acquire a lot of resources online to teach the class. For example, websites that allow free downloadable activities, such as ‘englishgrammar’ website. Teachers may not be able to control activities that happen outside of the classroom however, they can communicate with the students. For example, through social apps such as ‘WhatsApp’ or ‘WeChat’. This is significant as students can contact their teacher out of the classroom if they have any further questions about the assignment.
The disadvantage is the teacher would have to ensure that all students had access to technology if he or she wants to assign homework outside of the classroom. This is significant because it could promote inequality as not all students have access to the internet.
In a nutshell, teachers would be using new technology to benefit students and themselves in the long run. New technology improves knowledge retention by enhancing the student’s memory. This is done by creating the essences of fun which interns improve recall abilities because emotionally charge events are remembered better than neutral ones. Knowledge retention is also improved by allowing the students to learn the same information in different ways.
Social interactions between students may however slowly deteriorate. Technology encourages individual learning which extends in and out of the classroom. It allows slow learners to caught-up with the classroom and for students who are interested in other topics to venture out. For students who need practice, technology acts as an after-class review platform and a portable dictionary.
Students may be distracted from non-academics if they are not monitored. Technology also benefits teachers because it saves a lot of preparation time and creates an avenue for one on one time with the teacher. It is also a source for educational resources and contacts out of the classroom. It can become a drawback if some students do not have access to the internet.
Also Read: How much can I earn teaching English abroad?
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