Technology is considered a real blessing for education – and mostly it is. You may get the newest information about the subject in a few clicks; you may study from home if you are ill or even enroll in a university on the other side of the world while still physically staying in your country. The classroom technology changed blackboards to screens, tapes to Youtube channels, or even virtual reality worlds and educational computer games. But are there any drawbacks to it?
Unfortunately, there are. All of them might be summed up in one statement: the human brain still hasn’t adjusted to the rapid growth of the technology level and the volume of information it now has to process constantly. This is especially true for the brains of children and teens, who make the most of the classrooms population all over the world. Technologies may be the cause of alienation, the fragmenting of the information, and the degradation of critical thinking.
1. The simulation doesn’t fulfill all the needs of students
In the modern world, we get used to new gadgets very fast. Those who were literally born with smartphones in their hands have trouble with differentiating online and offline talks, businesses, and acquaintances. They mean almost the same and evoke the same emotions in our brains. But we aren’t brain creatures only. We need lots of other bodily experiences to develop and feel good. Even the best representation of the experiment or case will not substitute the experiment itself – the possibility to touch, smell, see and experience something you have made by yourself.
The awe of bringing something into existence – be it fire, lit by our ape-like ancestors, pottery or fabric, made by medieval apprentices or a robot, assembled by a modern student – stays the same. We, humans, need it on a hormonal level. Online and virtual knowledge is easy to understand but is too abstract to be fully embraced and imprinted in our brains. We need more different stimuli than visual and audial only. We need to experience an event for our instinctive learning mechanisms to kick in.
2. Classroom technologies may cause alienation
As we said before, we need lots of different stimuli to truly experience something. But while we are in the classroom, it’s not the subject only we are learning. We are being social and having a social experience. Even when we are studying something together in the library or working on a common project in the class, we do something social. We draw chairs closer, we delegate tasks, we discuss our work in person.
But technologies allow us to skip all these stages. Why should we gather in the library when we can send a link to the essay example we have found on ProCollegeEssays.com? Why sit closer if we are always close – just tap the right chat and write what you want to say? Classmates aren’t always the people we want to socialize with, but technologies make us miss a whole level of social interactions that we will experience later, at work, or in other communities we have to be.
3. Technology may distract students from studying
New technology should come together with the culture of using it. There is almost no way to prohibit non-productive activities during the study time: the kids and teens are very crafty in breaking through restrictions, either formal or physical, like gadget locking. They are learning to play games and cheat with gadgets much faster than they discipline themselves to use them for studying.
There are lots of cases when students just play games during the lesson and try to google the right answer without even thinking about the problem. They got used to the fact that every solution has been already invented by humanity and put online, they don’t see a reason to reinvent it if they can just ask their gadget to provide them the right answer.
4. Technology isn’t good for critical thinking
Access to modern technology overloads us with information. We don’t have time and brain capability to check every single fact, and our overwhelmed brain surrenders, simply taking everything for granted. Lots of students consider Wikipedia a credible source of information, forgetting about the fact that it is written by average people, and anyone can edit it. They even don’t go as far as checking the sources listed under each Wiki article.
Sometimes students just google the answers and take the first one that appears on the results page. For them, the popularity of the page is equal to the credibility of the source, but obviously, it isn’t so. Later in life, people are unable to distinguish fake and do simple fact-checking because their filtering mechanisms are overloaded from their very childhood.
The technologies made the learning process much easier and much more accessible. But the main problem is that they just fall into our hands, out of the blue, without any cultural instruction manual. We can’t forbid the technologies in the learning process, and we shouldn’t do such a stupid thing. But we do need to create a culture of using them, the same one that existed for using books for a long time. Gadgets can be incredibly helpful during the study – but we should master them by ourselves and help others understand what is right and what is wrong in using them.