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Are There Limits to Digitizing the Classroom?

Are There Limits to Digitizing the Classroom?

Apr 12, 2018

Tech in the classroom has been hot ever since the Apple IIe hit schools. But is technology integration in school always a good thing? The answer lies somewhere in the middle.

A day rarely goes by without someone making a groundbreaking announcement about digital innovation, from biometrics and holograms to AI replacing human teachers. But how far can – and should – schools incorporate technology into the learning environment?

Going Digital’s Benefits

For starters, it’s important to emphasize the centrality of technology to preparing students for the modern world. Computers and smartphones are integral parts of our daily lives socially, for work, and as consumers. There’s no denying digital’s wide reach and its utility in making aspects of our busy, increasingly interconnected lives easier and more convenient.

Tutoring is ripe for a digital boost as well. There are a number of resources and tools that can facilitate student learning, like using a virtual whiteboard, choosing the right tablet, and taking advantage of online resources to enhance your sessions. And as long as the internet connection is reliable, Skype and Facetime can easily connect tutors to students remotely.

But teachers (and parents) can’t take a backseat to technology in education. Personalizing education takes active engagement and digital tech is here to augment, not replace, educators’ abilities at school and beyond.

Tech developers, like Microsoft, are well aware of that fact, too. Designing effective tools for personalized learning translates to freeing up educators’ time to intervene where students need the most help. Plus, good EdTech can reduce the administrative workload that takes educators’ attention away from helping students.

…And Some Drawbacks

Sometimes it seems that technology is the solution to plenty of old problems. But that’s not necessarily true when it comes to raising young scholars.

More than 53 percent of U.S. parents polled in one survey admit to using smartphones as pacifiers for their children 13 years or younger. The same problem can interfere with student learning in the classroom when technology substitutes for human interaction to assess students’ comprehension, identify issues, and target specific approaches to help students.

For one thing, parents want human teachers in front of their students, not computers. What’s more, however, is that human teachers remain students’ most valuable asset in addressing their specific needs. That’s what makes one-on-one personalized learning such a powerful tool in improving student performance.

Balancing Pros and Cons

Digital tech can be a strong foundation for remedial education needs, where an educator can employ software and tools to target and address individual students’ learning issues. Done smartly, integrating technology into the learning environment comes down to ensuring educators and students have tools to enrich the learning process, without sacrificing the value that comes with the human element.

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