Using advanced technology in schools and universities has been a challenging and controversial debate for many years now. Teachers, students, experts in education, and parents alike have argued and assessed the pros vs cons of using technology as a teaching tool. Integrating laptops, tablets and other smart devices in the class can feature many added benefits. But it can also be a distraction; social media and smartphones go hand in hand. Every student now owns at least one smart device, and allowing them to keep using technology in class can jeopardise their learning potential.

Pros

  • Technology is an opportunity for students to experiment

Academic professionals finally have the opportunity to learn more at their own pace. Technology puts at their disposal all kinds of tools to help them design and execute with accuracy and precision. Whether we’re talking about adopting the flipped-classroom methodology or employing tools to finish a project faster, there’s no doubt that the learning potential is increased when using technology. Having advanced skills in using smart gadget builds credibility among fellow colleagues too, and can keep us connected and up to date with latest information and current trends.

  • Resources

There are lots of useful resources that can boost learning when using technology, making reading and writing more fun and interactive. From organisational platforms to apps and e-textbooks, there are lots of tools students can use to help improve their learning. Most programs available are designed to keep learners organised, as well as facilitate collaboration and the sharing of ideas.

  • Automation of tedious tasks

There are lots of ingenious tools such as Top Hat, and others, that can help automate grades and scores, thus keeping students on track with their own level of performance. Grading can be easily streamlined for discussions, writing assignments, and participation, as well as answering trivial questions students might have along the way.

  • Instant access to useful information to boost the learning experience

The learning experience in class is changing from a one-on-one approach to collaborative learning. Using the internet to search for data and sharing that data with colleagues a fun way to uncover new things and use them for your benefit.

  • Learning life skills with the help of technology

Crafting presentations, maintaining adequate online etiquette, learning to spot unreliable internet sources, researching, and crafting the best emails are just some of the things you can do in class with the help of technology.

Since we live in a highly advanced digital world, students must learn to adapt. Technology can help prepare you for the real world, but it must be used correctly. Accessing social media pages and playing games must be avoided; these are distractions that will only compromise your learning when in the classroom. In spite of all the benefits, technology also has some drawbacks that every student must be aware of.

Cons

  • Technology can be distracting

Students must learn to prioritise and craft a structure from day one to avoid distraction. Keep a close eye on the target and identify specific projects. Turn off social media when you’re in class and pay attention to the useful information provided. Creating guidelines and expectations – and sticking with them – is extremely important because this will help you adhere to the guidelines and respect your boundaries.

  • Probable disconnection from the social world

One of the biggest drawbacks of advanced technology can be the resulting lack of a social life. Students can easily get sucked up by all the e-books, programs and tutorials available that they might forget to go out, relax and socialise with peers. It is important for teachers to create in-class assignments but also use tech tools and presentations to teach students about the importance of staying dynamic.

  • Cheating in class

Last but not least, we have to point out that cheating in class is a lot easier when advanced technology is involved. Students have access to lots of information online, and can easily use their smartphone or tablet to copy papers and claim them as their own. All of this can be avoided, but it must be done right. Teachers and professors must inform students that cheating doesn’t help them become skilled learners, and that there are lots of online tools that can help professors spot plagiarism too.

Author credit: by Christopher Austin and Educater.co.uk.

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