If technology plays such a key role in advancements of society, shouldn’t it be used in every aspect of life? There is no denying that the drastically changing world requires new advancements in many fields. One of the most important fields is that of technology. Although it is used for nationwide goals in the fields of medicine and transportation, recent technological ideas have been used in the classroom as well. With this strategy, comes a huge debate with multiple opinions and being a student in college, I have experienced the advantages and disadvantages of technology in the classroom. Although I value technology and its advantages very much, I sometimes question if objects like smart boards, laptops, and blended learning strategies in the classroom helps or hinders students and faculty and what effect it has on general learning and grades. As a student with about fourteen years of education under my belt, I have seen the educational system change very much. While technology in schools wasn’t much of a major factor during my elementary and middle school days, when I got to high school, the game changed a little bit. Almost every teacher used some sort of technology to accompany their class whether it was power points, smart boards, or laptops. For example, in my junior history class, my teacher used her smart board to allow students to get up in front of the class and complete an activity or teach a lesson. This interactive strategy really helped me stay focused and learn better compared to a teacher who lectures every day, which I did experience in high school as well. An English teacher would stand in front of the class and lecture every day with no visuals or student activities. This was a brutal way to learn and although it may be more like what we would experience at a large college, it didn’t work for most of the students.
Since being at college, I have been introduced to classrooms that integrate student’s laptops and blended learning into the curriculum. In my experience at Maryland, this strategy has worked as long as the professor utilizes this strategy well. In my psychology class for example, the professor was immensely engaging and this kept students from getting distracted by social media or other things on their laptops and keeping up with the class. Now, for eighteen and nineteen year olds, getting distracted by technology is an everyday thing. If a teacher is not able to keep the class interested, technology can hinder the student’s ability to learn and pay attention. Therefore, based on my experiences in high school and college thus far, I believe that technology in the classroom can go either way. It can be extremely useful or it can put students at a disadvantage to the rest of their peers. Now that more and more schools are adopting the use of technology in their classrooms, more research is being done to support it. A huge step in this debate for the support of technology has been done in Mooresville, North Carolina. As superintendent of Mooresville School District, Mark Edwards strongly stated, “This is not about the technology. It’s about changing the culture of instruction—preparing students for their future, not their past”(Qtd. in Schwarz). And Mr. Edwards’ theory has been shown throughout his school district. According to state ranks, from 2008 to 2011 Mooresville’s district graduation rate increased from 80 percent to 91 percent. To accompany this statistic, eighty eight percent of students met the proficiency standards for state issued testing, compared to a low seventy three percent three years before the introduction to technology in the district. By distributing laptops and software to every student in the district, Edwards has proven his theory and is getting a tremendous amount of requests to explain his success.
Looking at a more broad approach, technology in the classroom has been shown to increase