The golden age of technology continues to thrive in 2016. For the most part, people born around the late 1990’s were the last to experience a glimpse of a life that didn’t depend on electronic gadgets – and those people are lucky.
Today, over 70 percent of schools use a form of tablet computers as a source for students learning. In fact, there are 4.5 million iPads (and counting) in U.S schools.
It is unfortunate that every child born after 2010 won’t be able to experience a life without their face buried in the latest Apple product. While technology does improve education in many ways and is certainly convenient, its downsides are evident and concerning.
iPads, computers, tablets, or basically any electronic has features that can detect things like spelling errors or grammatical errors. Although this may be convenient, it is taking away from students’ learning and ability to complete tasks without relying on an iPad to check their work.
Another problem many schools face is internet connectivity issues, which can cause servers to slow down and affect the ability to do schoolwork on a computer or iPad.
For example, at Monroe Township High School, the Wi-Fi has shut down on multiple occasions, causing teachers to have to rewrite lesson plans because they were depending on the use of the internet. It is extremely frustrating and inconvenient, and can interrupt student’s learning.
Sophomore Giana Matarangelo says, “The internet shuts down so much at this school and it affects the whole class. Also, it’s so easy to lose a file. With a few accidental clicks of a few buttons, you could have just deleted an assignment that took three hours. But that’s the price you have to pay to have iPads, I guess.”
Like any teenager with an interesting device in their hands, it is easy to get distracted, especially on a tablet or iPad where apps can be bought. It is common to see students playing games or scrolling through their social media accounts instead of doing an educational task.
Sophomore Christina Wang says, “The iPads are great because there are a lot of resources we can use, and we have an easy access to any information. But it gets extremely distracting, and nearly every student has games that they play during class. It’s not even something the teachers try to prevent anymore. Obviously nobody should be playing games while a teacher is teaching, but it happens. I feel like I might be more efficient if everything wasn’t on the iPad.”
Games and other distractions cause students’ grades to drop and an increase in the amount of uncompleted work.
For schools that pay over $500 for each iPad or computer they receive, it is unfortunate that students waste so much time using what is supposed to be a learning tool as a gaming system.
During 2014, American K-12 schools spent an estimated $9.94 billion on educational technology, an increase of 2.5 percent over 2013, according to Joseph Morris, director of market intelligence at the Center for Digital Education. On average, he said, schools spend about a third of their technology budgets on computer hardware.
Technology has taken the world by storm. It is arguable that this can be beneficial, but it is much more evident that the dependency on technology is excessive.
What are your views on technology in schools?