As a company founded on technology, the space where ed-tech is currently positioned in schools has shifted as the education sector responded to distance learning mandates. The focus of technology within schools has also changed as the gaps in what students have access to at home to continue their education have been recognized. It brings us to the point of — technology in schools: a balancing act.
Prevention & Communication
Technology in schools can be a distraction, but it can also help minimize other distractions that disrupt the learning process. Badge Messenger is one such tool that can prevent or resolve these distractions.
The Badge Messenger® ID badge works as a discreet two-way communicator between staff and the central system CAREL. With just the touch of a button, teachers can use it in countless scenarios to make requests for supplies, medical aid, custodial services, and more without taking their attention from their class. It is also the ideal system for alerting the entire school during an active drill or severe weather event.
With such an easy way to communicate emergencies or needs, both staff and students can focus more on learning. If your school is looking for a tool that simplifies the school day without detracting from your educational goals, connecting with Badge Messenger might be a good next step.
Across the nation, many schools have switched to the most modern tech for innovative learning. It isn’t uncommon to see kids of all ages using laptops and tablets in the classroom. However, many parents and educators are beginning to ask, is technology a distraction?
It can be a valid concern. Today’s kids use digital technology for entertainment just as much as for learning, if not more so; it’s hard for that particular generation to know life without a screen. Students can be playing games or utilizing apps on their school devices under the guise of studying. Devices can also detract from education when they break or otherwise malfunction. Teachers often worry that technology will interfere with the teacher-student relationship in the traditional, hands-on sense.
Out of concerns over student productivity and learning, more and more schools are now backpedaling and eschewing technology in favor of the old paper and pencil standbys. Obviously, there are legitimate needs for technology in the classroom; it hasn’t been a failed experiment. But where do we go from here?
Technology and Student Distraction
There are potentially two kinds of technology in the classroom: personal devices and school-issued devices. Personal devices are anything the student personally owns and brings from home, such as their cell phone, a hand-held gaming device, or personal laptop or tablet. School-issued devices are usually laptops or tablets for connectivity and learning purposes.
It’s safe to say that personal devices like cell phones can pose as distractions in school and bring up privacy concerns. The school can’t monitor what apps and programs are downloaded to a personal device, so students who use them in class may be perusing any number of games, social media sites, and more.
School-issued devices often come with strict rules concerning programs and content, but even these can be used for entertainment when students should be paying attention to a lesson. When they are being used for learning, devices can also malfunction or create frustration for a less tech-savvy student.
There’s also the question of how teachers use technology in the classroom. Do those devices really teach information effectively, or are they just a novel way to keep kids busy in class? Often teachers have little experience using digital technology for teaching, and so the focus becomes using technology for its own sake rather than enhancing learning. When technology is not used to accomplish the goals of education, it is automatically a distraction.
What Grade is Your School's Communication System Getting?
Technology in the Classroom
There are benefits to having technology in the classroom without a doubt. There’s a balance between technology and the personal development of students.
When used properly, technology amplifies students' experiences and enhances teachers’ efforts. While we usually think of hand-held devices as being distractions in the classroom, they and other classroom tools can encourage and improve student participation. One survey found that 72 percent of teachers agreed technology in the classroom kept students engaged.
Today’s digital tools can be used to poll the class for answers to start a discussion and reward participation points. Students can use technology to make creative presentations or read and comment on educational material. There are countless digital learning games and activities that can be incorporated into lessons.
Leaning Into the Curve
Technology can make access to learning materials easier. Assignments and class notes can be uploaded for students who missed class. Some schools find downloadable materials cheaper and more up-to-date than textbooks. And students can do assignment research from their desks instead of waiting to use a computer lab. Before ed tech was an option, students were limited to the learning materials contained within their schools. Today, they can explore the world from their desks as well as stay connected from a distance.
For teachers, technology in schools automates many of their more tedious tasks. It can be used for tracking student attendance and performance and even gathering data on how well a class is doing. Digital technology is vital for communicating with students, parents, and colleagues today. Time-saving digital tools allow teachers to focus on real priorities, like student success and individualized learning.
Ultimately, educational technology is beneficial when it is used to solve problems and enhance learning, rather than being viewed as a placeholder for teaching methods.