Technology in the Classroom

Technology in the Classroom

Technology has been a controversial topic for many colleges around the world. Many professors do not approve of technology in class because it distracts the students and it is disrespectful, but many students feel that since they are adults and are no longer in high school they should be able to use technology as they please.

From the professor’s point of view, they have to stand in front of the class and teach students all day, and the students should have the courtesy to pay attention and learn all that they can from the lectures. It is disrespectful for students to be on their phones, laptops, tablets, etc. while they are trying to do their job and teach students who came to college to learn. Many teachers also feel that if they have to sit in meetings all the time and not use their phones and laptops students should not be able to use theirs in the classroom. Students will have to do the same thing when they get a job after college and have to sit through meetings as well, and they should learn now to discipline themselves for when they are in the same situation later in life.

Many students feel that they are in college and should be able to make their own decisions. They know that in college they have more freedom than in high school and their phones will not be confiscated and they won’t be sent to the principal’s office for using their technological devices. Also some students believe that they should be able to do things like use technology in the classroom because they are paying to go to school, so the teacher should not care because they are getting paid either way.

The student’s grade is what they earn based on their actions in the classroom and studying outside of the classroom. It does not completely reflect on the teacher if the student does not do well.

Some teachers don’t say anything when students use their phones or laptops in class. Many professors will say something along the lines of “please put your phones away,” but a few get angry and ask the student to leave if they want to use their technological devices. One professor I had took students’ cell phones if they were using them in class and kept them until the class was over.

On the rare occasion there is an emergency, some professors refuse to let students take a call. Emergencies should be an exception to the rule, but some professors feel that students’ personal lives should be kept outside of the classroom and not cut into their time teaching class. However, emergencies are unavoidable and happen randomly. Students should not be punished because something came up that they need to take care of. Everyone experiences emergencies even teachers, if a student says that there has been an emergency and they need to leave the class to take a phone call, they should not be yelled at for doing so. On the contrary, students should not do this often to get out of class or use their cell phones.

There have been countless  studies which have sought to identify the issues of technological distractions in classrooms. These studies have concluded that students using laptops in class spend a large amount of time multitasking and that the use of technology in the classroom posed a significant distraction for everyone that could see the use of the electronic device. According to Science Direct the level of laptop use negatively impacted several measures of student learning, ranging from self-reported understanding of the material to overall performance in the course.

Some students have come to recognize electronic devices as distractions.

“It’s not distracting unless we make it a distraction,” stated Lauren Broom, a freshman Criminal Justice major. Many scientists, and even professors, may beg to differ. On many occasions where technology comes into play professors notice that students are often tempted to use these devices for the wrong reasons when they are right in front of them. When professors allow the use of laptops, tablets and cellular devices in the classroom it makes it harder for students to focus on the task at hand. The temptation is hard to avoid when the professor cannot see what all the students are doing while teaching the class. Many students take this chance to open social media sites as well as gaming websites to bide their time until class is dismissed. It is also noted that when there is no penalty students are more likely to repeat these behaviors and dismiss anything bad about doing so.

Additionally, the use of technology further hinders the ability to stay alert and focused for long periods of time. It has been noted that technology, in fact, is decreasing the length of our attention span. The Microsoft Corporation has recently conducted a study which found that the digital lifestyle is making it increasingly difficult for people to stay focused. Over the past decade the human attention span has shortened from twelve seconds to eight seconds. The excessive use of technology in the classroom does not help with this ever present issue.

Another issue with electronic devices being used in the classroom is the awkwardness and embarrassment the students may face. Often the student at fault does not care that they are getting in trouble, but the rest of the class sits idly by awaiting the scene to be over and the issue to be resolved. This is clearly a disruption to the other students and is not fair for the students which choose to do the right thing and want to learn.

Overall, I believe that the use of technology in the classroom should be limited by the individual that is using the device. Electronic devices should be used respectfully, students must recognize when it is appropriate to use their devices and when it is not. Additionally, professors must recognize that the students are in fact the ones paying to be in school. It is the students’ job to want to learn and pay attention. It is on the student if they choose to use their electronic devices and fool around during class time which is designed to help them learn.

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