Tech Impacts Learning

Does technology impact learning? Are there advantages and disadvantages of using tech? YES!! I LOVE using technology in Math, Science, Health, any subject but are my students learning the skills they will need for the future?

It was pretty hard for me to DISAGREE with the fact that technology has an impact on learning when it really goes against what I value in education but I found some very interesting information that supported this side of the debate. This article Tablets Out, Imagination In about how the people who work for the tech companies send their own children to schools without tech was pretty eye-opening. Why would they not want their children to learn in an environment that utilizes the latest apps and devices? The article states that they believe in experiential learning that promotes creativity, problem-solving and innovative thinking skills. I do believe that all of the screen time that students are getting between home and school has an impact on the social skills that students need to practice and develop. The article also stated that the education systems that heavily invested in computers saw “no noticeable improvement” in their results for a reading, writing and math assessment. Now I am not a fan of assessments but I wonder what tool is out there that measures student’s growth in preparing them for the future?

Then my research happened upon this video by technology author Nicholas Carr, who wrote a book on this topic entitled “The Shallows”. I learned some interesting facts about the brain like the fact that we are overloading our short-term memory with all the multi-tasking we are doing and we are not transferring knowledge into our long-term memory where deep, reflective thinking happens. I can relate to this myself because I feel like I am constantly doing 3, 4, 5 things all at once but is all of this multitasking making me smarter? A Stanford Study mentioned in the video reported that heavy multitaskers did poorly on six cognitive function tests. It also stated that the more we are attracted to the latest “bits” of information the less we worry about how trivial it is. Are we teaching our students how to filter what they are reading on their devices?

I do agree with this article provided by the AGREE side of the debate that technology does encourage all students to participate and it is useful to differentiate and personalize the needs of students. I use Google Classroom with my own students which has been a great organization tool and gives me the opportunity to provide instant feedback on their assignments. I also use the app Remind to communicate with parents, which I LOVE!! I have always been passionate about technology and I will continue to look for new innovative ways to use tech to enhance the learning in my own classroom. What are your thoughts on this topic?

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7 thoughts on “Tech Impacts Learning

  1. I totally agree with with you, Wendy. Using technology in the classroom can have HUGE benefits on student learning in the classroom! I find that students are more engaged and more willing to do any work when it involves technology. That being said, I like the term “blended learning” we discussed in class this week. INTEGRATING both technology and those important literacy and numeracy skills is what I strive to do.
    Great post! Thanks for sharing:)

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    1. Thanks Amy!! I also like the idea of “blended learning”. I LOVE using tech but I feel like for kids it’s the relationship that you build with them that encourages them to come to school every day! They love hearing stories from their teacher and we can be great role models on how to deal with this technological world that we are living in.

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  2. I like the research around the brain and when we are overloading our short term memory when multitasking, we therefore do no transfer the knowledge to our long term memory. I always find myself multi-tasking because I want to be efficient and not waste time. But in the end sometimes I see it fails me. Is this the new wave in our futures? Should we be teaching students how to effectively multi task? Although there are downsides, technology has opened doors to communicate with families more frequently. At times, I do not have the extra few minutes in a day to make a phone call but I can send a quick email to communicate. This has helped me maintain relationships with families. I also send an email every Friday as a reminder of what is up and coming. I would say this method of communication has increased my relationships with family, which is important to me as a teacher!

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  3. When I read your portion of your blog regarding multi-tasking, I was reflecting on my own practices. I consider myself pretty efficient in multi-tasking and have appreciated immediate access to a variety of tools and tasks through my phone. However, I am wonderful at wasting time with that device as well. If I, as semi-logical and learned adult have problems managing my time with tech, I can understand how students might have the same challenges. Modelling and explicit teaching of how to multi-task and use our devices efficiently will be essential skills for our students now and in the future.
    Thank you for your thoughts!

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  4. I often find myself wondering if we are missing an opportunity when we focus so much on measuring what our students know and can do. There is certainly a time and place for asssessment and it is important but I think maybe we get too caught up on it. Like you mentioned, I am not sure that we can measure problem solving, critical thinking and social skills but I do think we can work to provide our students with multiple opportunities to experience using these skills.

    Great job with the debate, I think the disagree side would have been so difficult to do, especially when you don’t actually disagree.

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  5. Great post, Wendy! And congrats on a job well-done during our debate – it’s no easy task to argue against something that you see real value in. You guys raised so many great points!

    Thank you for sharing the Carr video – this really made me (re)think my perspective on multi-tasking. While I still see great value in teaching kids how to multi-task when it comes to tech use, including appropriate time and place for checking/using your device, I’m intrigued by the notion that multi-tasking actually impedes our ability to transfer knowledge into the long-term and deepen our thought processes. I love when new information challenges my thinking – thanks for this!

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    1. Thanks Jana!! Your team did an awesome job on your side of the debate. It is interesting what multi-tasking is doing to our brain capabilities, hey?! I’m glad I made you think about it.

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