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Grade Smarter

The Growing Issue with the Trend Towards Technology

The trend towards technology is apparent now more than any other time. It doesn’t take long to see the benefits, but what about the effects it has in the classroom? As a society, we have moved from phones-in-the-wall to smartphones, CD players to iPods, etc. The list of technological advancements that have changed our lives is almost endless.

The Benefits of Technology

The Internet has revolutionized our world, making everyone and everything accessible at our fingertips. FaceTime and Skype allow us to communicate with people across the globe. In turn, this has helped us cultivate our relationships with business partners and our loved ones. Additionally, we have seen social media grow from a niche of people using Myspace to others possibly feeling ostracized for not having a Facebook. Companies are even moving from payments to cable companies to these social media platforms for advertising. We are glued to our phones watching the latest dance video go viral or another episode of Netflix. This trend towards technology has completely transformed the way we operate.

The Consequences of Technology

These inventions, on its own, are great things. However, our addiction to the technology itself and obsession to be in the loop of everything have become significant problems. We are unable to put down our phones for more than 20 minutes. Unfortunately, increased time on our devices has proven to lead to detrimental symptoms. According to Everday Health, it’s been shown to increase the likelihood of emotional instability, poor sleep habits, and a failing memory. In a classroom setting, it has increased the temptation of taking notes in a lecture or watching the basketball game in just one click. So with that, are these things actually hurting us in the classroom?

From Lifestyle to Classroom

Without these advancements, we would not be able to have the luxuries or ease of information that we have today. The benefits of technology have opened doors that we never knew could be opened. However, not all of the beneficial aspects of these appliances translate into the classroom as well as it does in our lives. An article from The Effortful Educator describes how a teacher decides what gadgets he will use and which ones he won’t. He asks two questions to evaluate if, where, and when he can use them:

  1. Is there evidence of its effectiveness?
  2. Does the tool, gadget, or strategy do the work of the brain?

Regarding these questions, it reminds me of the times I see my fellow classmates on their phones or surfing the web while the lecturer is teaching. To some, none of this information is retained. Those same students are the ones cramming all the information the night before. Some get A’s and some fail the entire test. Despite some high test scores, the biggest issue is that there is no actual learning going on, just simple memorization and short-term recall. Due to the reasons I’ve listed above, my professors have always been back-and-forth on the issue of technology in the classroom. (If you are an instructor and want to know how to integrate practices to prevent using technology, check out this previous article!)

With that, I think it’s time to evaluate the trend towards technology we are moving into and answer the age-old question: Is technology beneficial overall in the classroom?

Casper from GradeHub
Casper Lee is majoring in business at the University of California, Irvine and this year’s marketing intern at GradeHub