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Debate


Should technology be used in every classroom?



YES

Keith ParkerWhen I begin teaching history and social studies in the fall of 2007, I’ll require students to use as much technology as I have the resources for.  They’ll learn how important technology is for conducting research and how best to leverage it for that purpose. However, the students who aren’t as interested in history will still learn skills that will help them when they enter the workforce. In almost every field of work, some type of technology is used. Students must be prepared.  

If we complement and reinforce our lessons with technology—from Microsoft PowerPoint to streaming media, and computer spreadsheets to podcasts—we’ll help students be more receptive of the material, and to become more familiar with the sorts of technology that have become a part of everyday life at home and in the workplace.

Finally, while students might not be as familiar with workplace technologies and software, they are whizzes when it comes to Internet and telecommunications technology. By using more technology in the classroom, we’re speaking their language and teaching them in a way that they might learn. Ignacio “Nacho” Estrada once said, “If a child can’t learn the way we teach, maybe we should teach the way they learn.”

Keith Parker is a history education student at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee.

NO

Timothy KubinakOveruse of technology has inadvertently provided students with a deck of “get out of work free” cards. As a math teacher, I’ve seen the use of technology, such as graphing calculators, have some positive effects—students can check their work, create graphs, and work together to solve problems. But too often I see students using technology to perform basic operations that should have been mastered in elementary school.

Some of my colleagues in the English department attribute their students’ writing skills, or lack thereof, to the heavy use of instant messaging and spell check. These technologies, though useful when used as directed, can lead to a decrease in proficiency. The need for core skills development must be the first priority of the student and teacher. 

Our generation learned how to read, write, and do arithmetic by learning from our teachers’ example—with pencils, paper, and our minds. True, educators have learned that our students’ needs are unique from past generations, but we remember what is truly important in our children’s education. They need to learn how to organize, apply, analyze—in essence, we’re teaching them how to learn. Yes, technology is an integral part of this process, but that does not mean it is a required component of every classroom setting.

Timothy Kubinak teaches algebra and geography at King’s Fork Middle School in Suffolk, Virginia.

Other Voices

Here’s what educators are saying:

I have no “21st Century Classroom” gadgets, nor have I ever felt the need to have them (I have been teaching for 11 years). I do believe technology has a place as a supplement to curriculum, but should never take the place of “good old-fashioned” teaching—presenting a lesson and discussing who, what, when, where, and how, and then placing special emphasis on why it is relevant to today’s students.
Richard Lemin Deer Creek Middle School, Edmond, Oklahoma

If we wait until middle or high school to teach essential technology skills to our students, it is too late.
LeAnn Morris, Empire Elementary School, Carson City, Nevada

My students love the whiz-bang classes featuring Powerpoint slides, videos, music, etc. (I do too!) These gadgets and high-tech methods frequently help students understand the literature and provide visual reminders of the lessons.  However, the gadgets are only effective after the kids have read the text. There’s no substitute for reading. We should stop providing students with shortcuts so that they can squeak by without cracking the spine of a book. 
Kecia Hopper Troutman Middle School, Troutman, North Carolina

 

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Published In

20-Sep-06