Engaging the imaginations of digital learners has been an interesting endeavor for me to learn and think about this week. I have gone back and forth numerous times about where I stand on this concept of digital learning. On one hand, I think it creates an avenue of being able to be creative in how you facilitate your class and break down barriers of access for students. On the other hand, as someone that has sat in a classroom before, it’s not uncommon to see your fellow students “abusing” technology, aka watching the person in front of you watch episodes of Grey’s Anatomy.
Personally, I know that I have a bias sometimes regarding incorporating technology into my practices. I know I am very susceptible to being distracted by my phone or laptop and I can impose that bias on others. In my graduate assistantship role, I supervise 13 student staff members and during my weekly staff meetings, I have them put away any laptops or cellphones if they are not involved directly in an activity we are doing. I just feel like the second cell phones are out, it opens up for distractions.
Similarly, to what the Anya Kamenetz article talks about how that one teacher would walk into a room and just see all the students on their phones and not engaging with each other, I have seen this as well. If you do not have phones allowed, it can facilitate conversation between individuals faster I feel than if they did have them out. I feel that we can learn so much from others when we are just in community and engaging with each other.
On the other side of if technology should be in the classroom, I see many valid points and reasons it can be effective and should be implemented. The Anya Kamenetz article talks about how if you make a total ban of technology, if a student has a learning disability, it can unintentionally “out” them if they are using technology. As someone that does have a sibling who has a severe learning disability, I know how important learning assistive devices can be in the classroom. As well as how it can feel to not feel like you have agency in your choice of disclosing to others if you do in fact have a learning disability. It is personal information, and you should feel obligated to inform everyone you are in a class with unless you want to.
As well as the article talks about how people in industry believe that technology can be the way of the future for the classroom. They made an interesting point along the lines of if they are using it, why not figure out ways to effectively incorporate it into the classroom. I feel that using technology should be intentional and well thought out so that you do not just spend every class trying to get the technology to work or explaining how to use the technology every time. I believe that as time goes on, we are going to keep moving towards being a technological society so how can we use technology effectively in the classroom? I would be interested to see studies that look at various online methods to see what has the best results. I feel that I need to do more research on this.
I thought it was interesting to note in the article that with the technology boom, that they reference apps that can block technology for students while they are trying to do work. I think this shows the pull technology can have on students while they are trying to be productive. I know in my undergrad, my roommate used a website that would block her from social media sites for however long she set it so that she would not get distracted by the internet while she was doing her schoolwork—how ironic that technology was both the cause of the problem and the solution to the problem.
How do you feel about technology in the classroom? Have you ever had it implanted really well in a class you’ve taken or do you feel the impact is mostly negative? I am interested in learning others perspectives on this matter.