Including Technology in the 21st Century Classroom

I am sure everyone has heard it before: children now are part of the “wired,” “technology,” or “app” generation. Digital and mobile technologies are integrated into our daily lives as fast as they are being created. People are immersed with technology such as laptops, smartphones, tablets, etc. At this moment, even I am affected by technology; I currently am typing this post with six different tabs open, music playing in the background, a phone next to me with multiple apps running, and a TV playing in the next room over. However, how can we blame ourselves when technology is everywhere?

In this era of technology, how can people be expected to turn a blind eye? There is technology and innovation everywhere. I would be lying if I said I could go a full day, yet alone an few hours, without using technology. Now, the questions to consider are: Could I go without using technology for a long period of time? The answer is yes. But is it efficient to? The answer is no. At least not in this day and age.

Although technology of all shapes and kinds tends to have a negative connotation, technology can change the way we live and think in a positive way. It can be used to gain knowledge, resources, and connections. For these reasons, technology has increasingly been incorporated into educational settings. Teachers are increasingly using technology to teach to their students while, at the same time, students are beginning to use technology to assist themselves in their own learning. However, teachers may be hesitant to incorporate technology in their classrooms due to negative connotations.

This brings up the question: Since we now live in an era dependent on technology, should teachers be allowed to choose whether or not they include technology into their classroom?

Take a second to watch this video before answering the question.

This video takes a look at the impact of technology on education in the 21st century. Starting by looking at the overall impact of technology worldwide, we are told that 35 hours of video are being uploaded every minute, 2,000 websites are being made every hour, and 2,000,000,000 youtube videos are being watched everyday. Just look at those numbers! Teachers today are preparing their students to go into a world where jobs and skills they will be performing do not even exist yet. Therefore, education is pairing with technology to develop skills, personalize learning, and engage students in creative ways. All around the world, countries are pairing education and technology to enhance their children’s learning such as South Korea switching to digital textbooks, Denmark allowing the internet for exams, the United States allowing students to create their own schedules, and Australia promoting online internships and communities.

However, some may argue that all this technology is too expensive. Or that we are wasting our money. Or that it is being used inefficiently in classrooms. Or simply wonder if all this expensive technology is increasing learning. If you are one of these people, then take a look at the video below.

In this video, the green scissors represent new, expensive technology. Schools may decide to buy a lot of these scissors to help improve their students’ learning. They can end up being used in ineffective or dangerous ways; however, when they are used appropriately, they can prepare students with information and skills for their life after the classroom. Technology in classrooms fosters collaboration, communication, creativity, and divergent thinking in students if they are being used effectively.

So back to the question…should teachers be allowed to decide if they include technology in their classroom? The answer is: absolutely not. With new technology being developed faster than ever before, it would be detrimental to students if technology is not incorporated into their learning. Yes it is true that technology is expensive. Yes it is true that technology can be a distraction. Yes it is true that technology can be use inefficiently. However, it is true that technology, when used efficiently, can prepare students for an unknown future that is yet to be uncovered.

P.S. Click HERE for some beginning ideas on how to incorporate technology in your classroom today.



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