The Trials & Tribulations of Technology

Since I have been in elementary school, technology has grown to be ubiquitous within the American education system. From first to fourth grade, every student at my school took a computer class in which we learned how to use various applications on the computer. However, today, first through fourth graders now learn basic computer coding rather than basic computer functions, since the majority of students already know these.

Photo by Daniel Sarché

Upon entering high school, every student at my school was required to either rent or buy an iPad for their classes. However, today, every student must rent or buy an iPad beginning in fifth grade as opposed to ninth grade in my district, because iPads are required to complete a majority of the classwork. As technology has become a predominant tool in modern education, classes have become increasingly structured around different aspects of technology. During a podcasting block here at Colorado College, a significant portion of the class was dedicated to learning to navigate Adobe Audition, an application on the computer, and the sound booth in Cornerstone. Currently in my statistics class, I am required to understand a software called Minitab in order to perform the majority of the problems. We no longer use paper-and-pencil formulas to solve most statistics problems. Technology serves as an integral tool in the classroom, yet it also has the potential to impede on a student’s learning.

The obvious hindrance of technology in the classroom is that it can be a distraction. While many students use their laptops and phones as needed, many browse social media, online shop, or complete homework from the previous night. Technology’s presence in the classroom can certainly be abused.

Additionally, the technological aspect of a class can be the most difficult part of a class. In order to perform a given task, it is necessary to understand how to use specific applications before actually completing your work. For instance, while in statistics, I have spent a large quantity of time simply attempting to understand which buttons to press on a software on my computer when I know how to do the problem by hand. Yet, we are encouraged to use the software. Similarly, in my podcasting class, I could not complete work of value without understanding the application necessary for editing my sound clips. While both applications have made my job easier in their respective classes, it is frustrating when I am aware of what I need to do logically, yet I cannot complete the work due to a disconnect from the technology.

CC does an excellent job of offering all students various technological resources. However, perhaps certain students are more accustomed to a specific means of technology due to previous use. That puts certain students who may have had limited access to technological resources in high school at a disadvantage, as they must understand not only the content of the class, but also the way to use the technology.

Technology is supposed to act as a tool in education to aid students in performing many tasks quicker and in greater depth. Yet, sometimes students learn to use the technology and do not actually understand what the technology is doing for them. In a math or science class, often we allow computer software to perform calculations for us. While a teacher may explain what the computer is doing when it calculates for a student, often, it is hard to make yourself remember the logic behind a computer when the answer is the click of a button away.

Lastly, it has been said time after time that taking notes by hand as opposed to typing them is proven to be better for retaining information. A student may be able to type with pretty fonts, fun bullet points, and exciting colors, but the act of your hand writing the words serves as a motor tool that acts to improve the act of memorization. 

Technology has its perks. Certain classes have forced me to learn how to use different technological tools which have bettered my work. Yet, I also struggle with it sometimes as I feel it is hindering my learning experience when I attempt to understand the software as opposed to the material. As technology becomes increasingly prevalent in our classrooms, we must find an appropriate  balance.

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