I was an education major my freshman year, and I was amazed at how much technology is talked about. It was often said that if you were a teacher who didn’t use technology, you were “behind the times” or were in danger of being “out of touch with the children.” I think that kids are still kids. Kids still thrive on true imagination and interaction. Technology definitely has its time and place, but I hope that teachers still strive to find the importance of simply being a child in a world full of things to explore.
Technology can sometimes be a touchy subject. In some ways, it is the backbone of everything we do in the world today: it is our form of communication, what we use when we are at work and often where we find our entertainment. As our generation grows older, we are taking our knowledge of technology and using it to improve our jobs, but the problem is technology isn’t always an improvement.
In the field of elementary education, professionals are constantly looking for ways to improve the classroom. Teachers want to keep their children engaged while giving them the best educational experience they can. It seems recently that their solution always involves technology. While many people see the benefits of this, I can’t help but notice some of the negative impacts that technology has on a classroom full of children.
The first issue I have with this new trend lies within the controversy surrounding children’s access to technology in general. Everywhere you look, kids are playing with iPads or iPhones. There are tablets that are made specifically to be handled for children as young as 4 and 5. Kids can completely engulf themselves in the world they are seeing on a screen. However, there are quite a few parents who make it their goal to avoid this kind of experience for their children. They try to push their children to play outdoors or have hands-on experiences. Imagine being one of those parents who has managed to keep technology out of a child’s hands and then sending them to a school where the child can’t learn without it. Suddenly, the parent’s efforts are for nothing.
I think this concept could also work the other way around. Many parents have resorted to using technology as a pacifier for their children. It would be nice to think that when a child goes to school they are not being given that same treatment. I think it is more important for teachers to interact with the students than it is for them to facilitate what students are doing on a screen.
I truly believe that schools mean well when they give their teachers educational programs that are completely on tablets and computers, but I do not think they always think about the social and developmental consequences this may have on the children. Kids can learn colors from a teacher showing them and telling them just as well as they can on a tablet. The difference is that they are receiving human interaction and finally taking their eyes away from a device, even if it’s for only a few hours a day.