As a high school student, it saddens and worries me to see the increasing reliance on technology as a substitute for direct instruction in our schools.
Classrooms across the country have more access than ever to online self-paced programs, custom devices, and teacher education packages. It seems that the newfound use of technology to support teaching after distance learning is positive.
However, our access to technology does not support the learning process, but rather replaces the magic of connection between teachers and students and lively discussions in the classroom.
According to EdWeek, as of May 2020, at least 59 percent of US schools have a computer for each student, and according to Gallup, 65 percent of teachers use technology to teach every day.
However, in a 2020 Gallup poll, just 27 percent of teachers felt “a lot of information is available” about the effectiveness of the tens of thousands of education technology apps they now have access to, and yet these apps have a larger presence in the classroom, especially after distance learning.
Including Kahoot!, a multiple-choice educational game that offers students and teachers more than 100 million ready-to-play games. Another ed tech app, Nearpod, allows teachers to leverage all of their 22,000+ fully digital lessons, videos, and activities across all subject areas.
Actively Learn is an online software that provides almost 20,000 literary works and explanatory texts and even an automatic rating system for their activities. This type of program can replace virtually every teacher-developed component of the classroom experience: it offers built-in, publisher-supplied assignments, projects, and assessments that could replace an English class entirely.
All of this brings learning from the classroom to the screen. It eliminates verbal interaction between students, their peers and their teachers – not ideal as we return from the social isolation of distance learning. Now, the overuse of technology and computer-based software in the classroom threatens to exacerbate the interaction-damaging effects of distance learning.
Schools should embrace enthusiastic debate and discussion in the classroom, rather than relying on the Nearpod app’s 250-character limit for student contributions in their “discussion boards.” Face-to-face discussions encourage critical thinking and careful listening, and teach students to respectfully disagree while arguing their own positions, which is rare in today’s digital apps.
Teachers should encourage hand-lettered essays and hand-drawn posters as learning tools. Having the technology act as a teacher during face-to-face classes is simply a physical classroom version with the disadvantages of distance learning.
Of course, not all technology in school is negative; a balance can be found. For example, online library-like websites can save schools money and provide access to digital textbooks when printed copies are unaffordable. There are numerous scientific simulations on the Internet that enable students to visualize the atoms involved in chemical processes. And virtual writing programs help students develop this key skill.
However, technology in the classroom – such as B. Research information at the push of a button – only support the learning process.
I endorse the traditional method because I remember lively and engaged class debates on topical issues, small group discussions on literature, and practical projects from before technology dominated every lesson.
Whiteboard lectures and handwritten notes lead to priceless Aha! moments. For example, I will always remember the part of the math class where students demonstrated their knowledge in different ways in front of the class more than the online math games we played.
Actual labs in science class do more to snuff out that lightbulb than staring at a screen. And writing down information for a spelling test has always helped me deconstruct and memorize words better than just copying and pasting them online.
How will endless hours in front of computer screens solve the long-lasting social isolation and learning loss of distance learning? We must try to salvage the special moments of human interaction in the classroom or risk stifling our social and academic development. Our education is something we cannot allow to be automated.
Adam Abolfazli is a student at Sacramento High School. He previously attended public school in San Francisco. He wrote this for EdSource.