To be or not to be? Should I restrict the use of gadgets in the classroom or should I really require my students to use gadgets? It sounds like a grand topic for a debate. Isn’t it?
As teachers, we are doing everything we can to manage our classrooms effectively and to create a safe learning environment for our students.
We can’t deny the amazing opportunities brought by the advances of technology into our classroom, but does it mean to require our students to use their smartphones, tablets, and other electronic devices anytime in the classroom?
No, we are not in a dilemma if we try to answer this question, it’s just a matter of revisiting our perspectives and analyzing the pros and cons of using gadgets.
To help us get decided, I am presenting the pros and cons of allowing our students to use gadgets in the classroom. It’s a result of scouring the net, sharing my own experiences, and asking for other’s opinions.
<<In case you’re looking for gadgets for teachers, take a look at our favorites.
I interviewed my colleagues for this and so I say, it’s really a debatable topic but I have made up my mind.
You’ll know my answer below.
Should I Really Require My Students to Use Gadgets?
Before I begin exploring thoughts and looking at different angles, let me share the words of Bill Gates which somehow supported my notion.
“Technology is just a tool. In terms of getting the kids working together and motivating them, the teacher is most important.”
Well, he got me.
Advantages of Using Gadgets in the Classroom
Today’s students are more engaged in using electronic devices in and out of the classroom. Gadgets really have settled an important place in education so schools have enriched their computer laboratories and classrooms with helpful gadgets to support student learning.
1. Increases Student Engagement
The guided use of gadgets in the classroom can increase student engagement. I am a great fan of EdTech tools and I incorporate them when crafting instructional materials and in presenting lessons to my students.
As per observation, when my students are allowed to use some technology during class discussions, they get very excited. Indeed, the use of technology in the classroom makes learning fun and enjoyable.
Obviously, our youngsters are more inclined to use gadgets these days and to explore the midst out of curiosity. Hence, it won’t be difficult for us to let students navigate the digital tools we have in our classrooms because our students know how to use them.
With the latest trends of modernization, we can foresee the future to be very technology-inclined, and by allowing our students to use gadgets for class purposes, we are helping them to meet the high demands of a complex world.
2. Enhances Collaboration
Integrating technology into the classroom can help students work together; hence, collaboration is emphasized. Precisely, the use of interactive whiteboards and document cameras get students really excited to listen, interact, and learn.
Google apps, Padlet, and other online applications bring together students’ ideas as they post notes, share videos, and informational content on the walls for collaboration.
As we’ll see, gadgets, if used sensibly, are essentially the learning tools in the classroom to improve collaboration. As students work together and are formulating concepts through research, they are gauged for united efforts which establishes the extension of themselves.
Students, through different online activities, will be able to interact with their classmates and with other students in the world. This is one of the major advances in technology that all of us enjoy.
Computers, laptops, tablets, and other electronic devices provide opportunities for both students and teachers to connect with one another and to work collaboratively. Equally important, students are given rich opportunities to solve complex problems together.
3. Promotes Learning
As a teacher, I really appreciate the use of technology in promoting quality student learning. Correspondingly, the forms of technology in the classroom enable students to gain skills that will help them in the future.
Lessons are made interesting and presentations become so engaging that students get to appreciate the content and master competencies and skills. Furthermore, tech tools in the classroom really make learning more creative and productive.
Moreover, the teacher’s wireless presenters, document cameras, interactive whiteboards, and many other tech tools enhance lesson presentations which make them more appealing to the students. With this, students get more interested in paying attention and participating in the discussion than just having the chalk-board talk.
In other words, the air of boredom, the acts of yawning, and uninterested whims just evaporate and replaced with great interests, much energy, and enthusiasm.
4. Helps Students With Learning Difficulties
Tech tools are helpful to students with learning difficulties. The use of tablets, iPads, and educational apps give children creative ways to learn new concepts and enhance their skills.
An array of interactive apps improve children’s focus and concentration. They make the learning environment most fitting to the students’ abilities and difficulties.
As we all know, learning is really challenging for children with learning difficulties if the classroom doesn’t support their immediate needs. Hence, teachers embrace the use of mobile and computer-based apps to provide these students with engaging and soothing learning activities.
The best examples of these helpful apps are Toca Nature, MyTalkTools, ABCmouse, and many others.
Disadvantages of Gadget Invasion in the Classroom
Not only should you consider the best of things but also their imperfections and flaws. No matter how engrossed you are with the advances of digital tools, you should still consider how they should match with what we call safety and what’s pleasant.
Suddenly, my thoughts run into the disadvantages of the incredible advances.
1. Students Get Overwhelmed
As technological gales blow change into our midst, we tend to get overwhelmed at times. Indeed, we have to reconsider if the things that we think made our lives easier really made us feel comfortable and confident.
Studies reveal that students who are greatly inclined to use gadgets in and out of the classroom get easily distracted and fail. With this, we can really say that although gadgets have an important role in learning they also have disadvantages on student focus and performance.
Similarly, the wealth of information in the world of the Internet can suffocate students and make them confused. Unfiltered information can cause uncertainty, especially if students are left to their own while doing research and working on their outputs.
In other words, the results of using gadgets aren’t always beneficial and positive.
2. Students Become Technology-Dependent
The overuse of technology makes one lazy. The absence of it can make one frazzle. This is already an addiction. Studies reveal that a higher percentage of students say that life without computers, Smartphones, and other tech tools is stressful. Does this mean that our today’s learners are being chained to technology?
The comfort and automation electronic gadgets offer may result in over-dependence that students may refuse to use and develop their original creative and critical thinking skills anymore. It’s diminishing what’s right and proper.
When students get addicted to using gadgets, they tend to lose focus on their lessons and won’t be able to complete necessary learning tasks.
This makes me ponder. Are we becoming too dependent on technology that we tend to forget our natural talents and skills? We should not allow this to happen to our students or to our children.
Maybe we need to internalize the thought of using technology in the classroom that it should be for the better and not for the worse.
3. Physical and Mental Risks
According to the research entitled ‘The Impact of Electronic Gadget Uses With Academic Performance among Secondary Students’, students who are extremely dependent on the use of electronic gadgets are negatively affected in their academic and health status.
When students become addicted to the use of gadgets, they just can’t live the day without gaming, consistent chatting, and texting. And when they fail to reply to messages in an instant, they feel restless and worried which can affect their whole being.
Furthermore, the extreme use of gadgets for hours can cause problems in posture and weight, which can eventually cause anxiety and depression. Not to mention the headaches, eyesight problems, and many more.
As stated, the utilization of gadgets in the classroom is advantageous if students are closely supervised. Moreover, its existence in the classroom or even at home is more advantageous if it’s very relevant to education or is closely monitored.
However, if students are just allowed to pop in their smartphones, tablets, e-readers, and other devices can create a negative impact on their performance.
The best remedy is to create a balance and set limits. Nothing is dangerous if used with precaution and moderation.
Should I really require my students to use gadgets? My answer is a solid no.
From a personal standpoint, the word ‘requires’ connotes a pressing need and sense of urgency. Setting it clear, I can certainly allow my students to use digital devices at some point in our lesson encounter but it doesn’t necessarily mean I am requiring each one of them to use gadgets all of the time.
I am the best visual presentation for instructional delivery. I am confident about that because I know that I am passionate about what I’m doing. It’s not that I am a hater of technology. Of course, I do appreciate how it makes our work easier and more effective. In fact, I am a great fan of EdTech tools, only that I can’t just allow my students to use their gadgets ‘just anytime’.
Using gadgets for some time is totally different from requiring my students to use them all the time. I just can’t demand each one of them to use gadgets considering that most of my students couldn’t afford to buy these digital devices. If there’s a lack of it, then why should I insist? I am here to facilitate learning, am I not?
Require and allow has a big difference. I think. And what do you think?