Technology in today’s classroom can mean either of two things: 1) Teaching the use of technology in the classroom to the modern student or 2) Using technology to teach students, or both. They are different, but both are valuable.
The pace of technology is constantly increasing. Computers are twice as fast now as they were three years ago and memory four times as large. Cellular telephones, unheard of 30 years ago, are now used by toddlers to call granny, and she texts the child’s father to go get them! “Blackberry” has become a verb rather than a trade name and laptops are constantly shrinking, now smaller than the instruction manuel. Technology continues to advance and, for young people to get ahead they must understand it and be able to use it. Where better to learn technology than at school?
Information Technology classes are even common in the Caribbean and numerous Third World Countries. They have computer lessons that teach the use of keyboards and spreadsheets for 1st graders as well as older students. Often this requires a special teacher, but most schools will have one. High school students are learning computer programming and repair along with English, Accounting, and Science.
And that is because schools are using technology not to only teach technology, but to teach the other subjects as well. Power Point Projectors have replaced slide projectors and the DVD’s are played on the computer, then on to HDTV for teaching about rain forests, the sounds and creatures almost come to life for the students. Geography is much more realistic when you can talk over the Internet to a real Russian in Moscow. Typing, accounting, reading, and even art can and are being learned using advanced technology.
But is technology always good and what is always needed? Not really.
Cellular telephones are nice in emergencies or talking with friends, but should be turned off in class. Sometimes the technology becomes disruptive during lessons. IPods are for lunch or at home, not during math class.
Yes, the students still need math and English classes as well as practical sciences. Can’t type if you don’t know how to spell and words can have several meanings, one has to be able to read the instruction manual to get started to use the technology. Computers work using mathematics, students need some basics. No DVD can get the smell and feel of actually handling an animal, which comes under Biology.
So, should technology be in today’s classroom? Definitely! It should be both taught and utilized to properly prepare students for the future, but remember, it supplements the basics, not replaces them!