Is the use of technology in classrooms enhancing student learning?

I am on the fence. I come at this question from an early childhood educator perspective and a mom who has two young children. This generation of students have been born into a world that is obsessed with technology.

Image result for phones at school

Where as I grew up without computers, cell phones or the internet. Boy that makes me sound ancient! Technology was around it just wasn’t overtaking our homes and lives. There is definitely no escaping the fact that technology will be around for a while. That being said, in the last couple of years before I resigned from teaching, I noticed a worrisome trend. Young children were finding it hard to engage in play. Play is usually so innate within young children so why this change? Is it because of the overuse of technology or is it that there is a generation gap, a misunderstanding of the merits of online play? Perhaps the idea of what play consists of needs to be redefined? Could play include games and interactions online in virtual worlds?  Maybe there is a place for technology in the early childhood classroom.

Last Monday, we had our first debate in EC&I 830 on this question. I heard the argument that technology helps to equip children with skills that they will need for their future professions. This may be true, but imagination and exploration are essential skills to fully engaging in a world that is always in flux. Children need to develop a love for learning, a desire to create and collaborate, an inventor mind-set in order to be world changers. As Mark and his son Jack talk about in their TED talk, children can create change in the world by building on what they love and what they know. Play and experience are important ways that children create their stories by overcoming challenges and reaching out beyond themselves. Play is the way that children figure out what they love and what interests them. I define play as children interacting with the world around them in concrete and physical ways. So where does technology fit in the world of early childhood, in the world of future change makers?

As discussed in our first debate, technology is a tool to enhance learning, to go beyond the classroom walls and dig deeper into subjects and global interactions. The use of technology in the classroom has many benefits for both teachers and students. I am not against the use of technology, I am cautious about when and how to implement it. Many of my EC&I 830 classmates mentioned that it is about balance when using technology with their students. In the past, I have felt strongly that in an early childhood classroom, technology should be used very sparingly and that the focus needs to remain on play. Perhaps a sift of perspective needs to take place for me. Children today are growing up immersed in technology. Play and learning to them can take on different forms than what I knew growing up. They may play a sport with a gaming device but then talk about it with their friends at school. They may draw a picture on their iPad that they could never do with a pencil and paper. Their learning is enhanced! I still have my doubts though. What about their physical fitness and fine motor skills (in particular pencil and paper skills)? What about their verbal communication skills?

Image result for young kids saying i dont know gif

So I remain on the fence. I see the benefits to using technology in an early childhood classroom but I worry about the affects on the holistic development of the young child.

What are your thoughts and/or experiences using technology in the early childhood classroom? I would love to hear from you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

5 thoughts on “Is the use of technology in classrooms enhancing student learning?

  1. Hi Esther! Thanks for your thoughtful post. 🙂 I am on the side of technology enhancing student learning but I have to admit, there were many points that had me giving it some serious thought. I teach grade 2 and I do integrate technology into my classroom – I use Facebook, Brainpop Jr, GoNoodle, Epic, Plickers, etc. but I make sure that I don’t overdue it and that I don’t have my students on technology for the sake of being on it. I try my hardest to ensure that when I use technology it is engaging and purposeful. The struggle is real some days though as my kids want to, and are used to being on devices none stop – even at 7 and 8 years old! Thanks again,

    Like

    1. The struggle is real! Balance is so important. Young children are so comfortable using devices these days, my own children included. I guess as educators we must make sure that imaginative and experiential play are always a part of our students days.

      Like

  2. Talking about play, as a child, I was never dissuaded to take my toys apart or even the occasional appliance to see how it worked. This curiosity, as you say is innate is most children and I consider myself lucky I was raised by parents who fostered this curiosity and encouraged me to explore the world around me. Perhaps as teachers, we need to foster more play in our classrooms. When teaching science, if the time permits it, I often let them play in the lab, under my supervision of course, but it amazes me how out this will to play disappears so quickly by the time they arrive in the later years of school.

    Like

    1. That’s so great to hear that you include play when possible Daniel. You are right, it is sad that play disappears however maybe it just changes. I am starting to realize that traditional ideas of play need to be re visited in our digital world.

      Like

  3. I appreciate your perspective from an Early Childhood point of view. I most definitely agree that it needs to be introduced to children slowly and with balance. I agree that today’s generation is losing the skill of play. I really focus on giving my children balance at home when allowing them time on devices. Technology can become addicting for children and I think that as adults we need to really be aware of the message we are sending to our children when we are using our devices as well. I try and be conscious of how much I am on my computer or phone around my children as I know they are always watching. This really makes me wonder and consider what is the appropriate age to introduce technology to children? I do agree that they need to have access at some point to build the skills of using technology but at what age does this need to start? Very thought provoking! THanks!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this:
search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close