Since the invention of the home computer, technology has become as common in school as pens and paper. While it has opened doors for students and teachers to connect and learn in new ways, it has also created many problems within classrooms and schools, and student communities. As there are several pros and cons, it is difficult to know whether technology has been a good or bad influence.
While there are good and bad sides to the use of technology in schools, it is mostly beneficial. This is because technology helps modernise learning and makes education more accessible. Even though it is not always reliable, technology helps students to engage more, and provides a more personal learning experience.
Disclaimer: This article is based on the opinions of one writer. They may not reflect the same opinions you have yourself.
This article will explore the many effects of technology – from sharing information to cyberbullying – and look at whether its effect is overall positive or negative. Keep reading for my opinion.
Table of Contents
What are the effects of technology in schools?
The questions surrounding technology in schools have been around since technology was invented. While there are many cases for and against it, the main ones include access to education, cyberbullying, and student engagement. If you want to know more about the positive impacts of technology in schools, check out this article by The Classroom.
Below, you can find a table of the positives and negatives of technology in schools:
|Positives of technology in schools||Negatives of technology in schools|
|Improved access to education.||Distractions: new technology can create personal distractions.|
|Connections: families and teachers can stay in touch far more easily.||Cost: The cost of teaching staff how to use technology can be very high.|
|Increased student engagement: videos, podcasts, blogs and even gaming can help students learn.||Reliability: Technology is not always reliable, and access is restricted to those who can afford it.|
|Higher information access: students can access books and learning content from anywhere in the world as long as they have a safe internet connection.||Cyberbullying: Bullying is a huge problem which can be exacerbated over the internet, because it is beyond certain controls of the school.|
|Accommodation: students learning at different levels can be supported in the same classroom using technology, rather than being segregated. It can also support different learning styles.||Stress: the constant connection of being online can make students stressed, both about friendship and schoolwork.|
What technology is used in schools?
Computers and laptops are the most common devices found in schools. From typing assignments to marking registers and showing PowerPoints, both students and teachers have found them to be a valuable addition. Many schools loan out laptops to students and have computer labs available for schoolwork during the day.
The smartboard was created with schools in mind, replacing old chalkboards and whiteboards with computer screen mirroring tech. This allows teachers to display PowerPoints and assignments, as well as model writing with camera projectors. Many classrooms have smartboards that can also be written on in pen, creating a connection between technology and traditional teaching methods.
Similarly, iPads and other tablets are used often by music departments for programs such as Garage Band, as well as by younger pupils for spelling and writing practice on games. Some schools use iPads instead of laptops, with classes borrowing a shared set when they need them.
What are the benefits of using technology in schools?
Disabled students have benefitted hugely from the advent of technology to schools, with alternative communication (AAC) on iPads, like speech-to-text interpreters and other access tools. This means that they can learn alongside other students and have similar educational experiences, unlike in the past; disabled students were often segregated from others and given fewer chances to learn.
Students almost always have their own mobile phone when they come to secondary school, so more schools are now choosing to use these as part of their education, rather than banning them or classing them as only a distraction. Not only do students use them to keep in touch with each other, they can usually be used for all the same things as laptops, and more!
For more ideas on whether technology is important in schools, please check out this Think Student article.
How is technology used in the classroom?
As discussed above, there are many types of technology that are used in modern classrooms, and more are being invented constantly. They all serve a few main purposes and goals: to enhance students’ learning, to make learning more accessible, etc. But how are schools now using technology to their advantage?
Often schools now set homework through an online portal, such as Teams or Firefly. These keep records of assignments and allow students to submit work online. They also usually have a filesharing system, where students can access worksheets and handouts from past lessons as well as extra resources to help with their homework.
Also, as previously mentioned, disabled students or students who have extra needs can use technology to help them. Sensory disabled students can access live captioning, sign interpreters or audio description, and students who struggle to speak can use technology as way to voice their needs.
Why is technology being used in the classroom?
Now that we know how technology is being used in the classroom, it is helpful to understand why. The main reason why technology is being used in schools is because it simplifies the learning process; assignments can be easily accessed, and progress can be tracked and shared more efficiently. Keep reading for more reasons why technology is growing in popularity.
Firstly, learning can be reinforced by technology. Online research, courses and even games can all teach students new content and help them revise. It also allows them to look into areas that interest them further.
For teachers, online resources and worksheets can help them get ideas for lessons. This means they can plan faster and spend more time teaching and marking to help students achieve the best they can, while also having interesting and engaging lessons.
Teachers can also use online tools and systems to track students’ progress in lessons. From spreadsheets of marks to grade calculators, many teachers now rely on these to speed up their marking process and make it less biased. Lots of schools also have online registers and behaviour records too, which all teachers can access.
This can all help schools to differentiate learning for students in the same classroom. This means that all students can be with others their own age, no matter their ability, and foster friendship and connections between students that may otherwise have been isolated. They can have different activities on different devices in the class, allowing everyone to work at their own pace.
Can schools get technology grants in the UK?
As technology continues to develop, more and more people begin to realise how it is modernising the UK education system. As an extension of this, over the years grants have been made available to schools. These grants let schools use technology more effectively, in the hopes of improve learning for all students.
For example, the Get Help with Technology program helps schools loan disadvantaged students their own laptops and technical support, to help them stay connected to their peers and to access educational resources. More information on this grant can be found on the government website.
Many other grants can be found via the GrantsOnline website, which lists all of the current available government grants and can be filtered to see the categories you require.