There is no way of denying that technology has drastically changed the way we live, and in a multitude of ways. Technology use is so far-reaching these days that even toddlers are tech-savvy, and schools rely heavily on it as teaching aids. Unfortunately, technology sometimes gets a bad rap, especially amongst those who are used to doing things the long-established (or old fashioned way), and there seems to be a chasm between those people who believe technology is beneficial to education and those people who argue that technology should not play such a huge role in education. When determining which side of the issue you stand on, it is helpful to keep some key considerations in mind.
Expert recommendations. Both the National Association for the Education of Young People (NAEYP) and the American Pediatrics Association (APA) have published recommendations in regards to technology use, or “screen time,” for children. They advise that children under two years of age should get no screen time at all, while children two and older should get two hours of screen time at the most. However, with more and more schools integrating technology into their education plans, it appears that it might be necessary to rethink that two hour limit in favor of a broader perspective of technology-learning.
Balance. There seems to be no question over whether or not children should be using technology as part of their education process. Without argument, technology offers a number of advantages in the classroom and can greatly diversify the learning experience. The real issue at hand has to do with balance: Is technology being used to the point of detriment to other important things (like physical activity, socialization, and creative play, for example)?
Determining the value of technologically-based learning aids. No two technologies are created equal in the eyes of education. There is no way of saying that technology is either all-good or all-bad for education, but there is a way of determining a specific technology’s value (or lack thereof) in the classroom. To size up a technology’s worth, simply look at how educational it is: Is it engaging, informative, and encouraging of critical thinking? If so, then it might serve a classroom setting well. However, if it is for purely entertainment value (like the cartoon programs some parents use to “babysit” their children, for example), then it likely has no real value in regards to education.
The issue of technology in education is not a simple one. The “right” answer is relative to a number of circumstances. These considerations should be used to get to the core of the issue, in order to make the best decisions when it comes to the role technology should play in education.
About the Author: Wesley Davidson values technology in the world of education but values old-school learning skills just as much. He recommends Varsity Tutors to anyone looking for one-on-one help for their children.