Balance & Purpose

Last Monday was the start of the Great Debate and the opening debate “Technology in the Classroom Enhances Learning” did not disappoint!  Doing the pre-vote I was pretty confident siding with the “agree” team but I have to say I found myself swaying between agree and disagree throughout the hour debate. 

The agree team, Megan & Brittney, provided a lot of reasons why technology in the classroom enhances learning including:

  • Access to information 
  • Information is updated & relevant
  • Offer different perspectives
  • Online tools to facilitate sharing of information that is not always written

McKnight et al.’s article “Teaching in a Digital Age: How Educators Use Technology to Improve Student Learning” provided some additional food for thought. McKnight et al. discussed how technology enhances communication and feedback. Technology allows students with the ability to collaborate with peers on their assignments. I can’t imagine completing group projects without the use of technology. They also discussed how technology extends purpose and audience. The point that resonated with me most though, was how technology has shifted the role of the teacher and student. Students are less reliant on teacher for the answers and technology has allowed students more opportunities to be the expert and choose topics that interest them. As an educator I can think of many ways that technology has enhanced my teaching and my own learning.

Even though the disagree side may have been more challenging to argue, I thought Nicole & Daryl provided a lot of thoughtful points on why technology in the classroom does not increase engagement including:

  • Distraction – I think most teachers would agree that with technology comes distraction
  • Decease in Real Connections (people & environment)
  • Technology is Isolating Students – students struggling with social skills
  • Physical Health & Mental Health Issues on the Rise
  • Lack of Improvement in Achievement & Graduation Rates – If technology enhances learning why haven’t we seen more improvements?

Niel Patel’s article “The Positive & Negative Effects of Technology on Education and In Classroom in 2022 ” reiterated many of Daryl and Nicole’s key points but also had a few additional negative effects of technology in the classroom. A few were the rise in misinformation online (inaccurate information), the cost of technology in the classroom, and how technology has created opportunities to cheat. Within the elementary school I work in we are certainly seeing more students struggling with social skills, fine motor, and mental health but I am not sure we can place all of the blame on technology. I think the pandemic and the lack of socialization for many students has played a big role too. Another challenge with technology that our school is facing is issues/bullying related to social media.

Although both sides of the debate provided a lot to think about, I think the biggest takeaway for me came from the discussion about Balance.

As mentioned in Richard Chamber’s Ted Talk we are living in a society that is overloaded with technology and we need to find a balance. Students also need balance. In order to create a balanced approach in the classroom I think teacher’s need to consider the purpose of the technology they are using. The SARM approach, which was discussed in the resources, can help educators think about the role of technology in supporting students & learning. Is the technology allowing students opportunities to create something new? If technology is being used at the substitution level, maybe its a time that technology really isn’t necessary.

While I know I could keep going on this topic, I need to find my own balance! It’s time to shut off my computer and enjoy the semi decent May long weather!

Tracy

10 thoughts on “Balance & Purpose

  1. Balance and Purpose couldn’t agree more. It is overwhelming at times to figure it all out with what seems like limited hours given to us as teachers. If we are aware of the students needs our selection of technology would have more purpose behind in. Rather than one size fits all kind of approach that I find ourselves often caught in.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Tracy. I think every subject has positive and negative points and so does technology. With some great effects and advancements, it brings some negative effects too in our society and to our people. I totally agree with your thought about balance and aiming for balance in life using technology is difficult. However, the need for technology in our life has become important and necessary and this has been proved during pandemic days.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Tracy,

    Great reflection on technology enhance learning. I can’t agree you more on balacne. There is no doubt that teachers would use technology in their classroom. After reading your blog, I start thinking how do educators find an ideal balance for integrating technology? I read an article about “Technology and Teaching: Finding a Balance” by Andrew Marcinek. In the article, the author mentioned a good balance followed by good instructional design. I am not sure if it applicable since I am not a K12 educator. I guess with proper guidance on students using technology and good class design based on technology, balance could be applied in the classroom.

    Echo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Echo. How do educators find the right balance is a great question! I am not a classroom teacher either so I don’t have the same demands to find a balance. I think considering the purpose of the technology is useful. Is the technology allowing students to do/create something they couldn’t otherwise do? Also finding a balance of screen time/physical activity is important.

      Like

  4. I love how you ended your post talking about balance. Balance as a teacher is something so difficult to achieve. Whether it is work-life balance, planning/correcting, answering parent/guardian emails, etc. there is so much that needs to be balance in our profession. Balance is not something that I seem to have ever been really great at. I go really hard in one direction or another, and then often leave another part hanging out to dry. After maternity leave, I was happy that COVID had restricted some of the things that we were able to do at the school level, so that I didn’t have to worry about trying to balance it all. I also didn’t have to worry about feeling bad for saying no, or no longer being able to fit something into my schedule.

    Like

    1. I can relate to the Covid restrictions feeling like a relief at times. This year with a new job, life/work returing to pre-covid pace I have found it challenging to find my own balance again!

      Like

  5. Tracy, I enjoyed reading your post. I think that you did a good job of highlighting the need for balance and purpose. I agree that the disagree side made some good points about the challenges of managing technology in the classroom to use it efficiently and purposefully. However, like you said, there are many benefits, such as student ownership of learning. The SAMR model is definitely a great way for teachers to reflect on their practice and how they use technology to enhance learning.

    Like

  6. Gerchew’s Blah posts

    Debate #2- technology has lead to a more equitable society- I disagree
    gertbear44
    Jun 26
    Article One: A social media weapon for good. The attacks highlighted in this article and the students speaking out on social media is evident that there are greater problems for youth. They are speaking out on social media. This reflects a strong voice for the youth involved in this attack. It also speaks to the injustice of people in the world, from terror attacks, mental health terrorist attacks. This article also highlights the gaping holes and missing solutions to effectively address these fundamental issues.
    These articles were an interesting view of Technology and the need for restructuring, greater vision and solutions to create an equitable situation for all.

    Like

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