The case for limiting educational technology

Has the high tech classroom really improved education?

Daniel Magwire
Daniel Magwire

I recently heard that teachers can acquire lesson plans online. An entire online market of lesson plans is out there for any teacher who takes the time to look. Countless websites allow teachers to share lesson plans and most of them are free. It’s as easy as Googling a phrase like “High school lesson plans”.

This is just one of the new technologies that is ruining the way we learn. With schools dishing out huge amounts of money on technology in the past few years, it doesn’t seem like a stretch to say that robots might take over the classroom. Why can’t we spend that money on more important things, like having enough books for every student.

An entire market has been created for these overrated technologies. While some are very useful, others just seem obsolete. Take the Airliner, for example. It’s a tablet that allows students to see via a projector the information that the teacher is writing on a small electronic tablet. My math teachers use it extensively to show examples of work on the board, but isn’t that the whiteboard’s job? If we want to the Airliner then shouldn’t we get rid of whiteboards,. There doesn’t seem to be a point in having both. Another pointless device is the reading pen, a gadget that allows the user to “highlight” text which the pen will then read to the user via headphones. Why do we go to school? I thought it was so we could learn to read and write. How lazy have Americans become? Can’t we even read a book without the help of a computer?

Call me old fashioned, but I really don’t want to see all these products in my school. While laptops have helped students with research, they have also caused major distractions. Let’s face it, we all have gotten on, or The temptation is there, it’s really hard to resist and, quite frankly, so easy to get away with.. That’s the problem. The Internet lets us connect with the outside world when we should be focusing on school. Technology has corrupted our schools, making it even harder to learn, not easier.

But the danger of technology goes even beyond that. Will students lose the ability to interact with each other If they spend all their time behind a screen? They never talk to their peers. Plus technology is actually altering our brains, making it harder for us to learn. According to Professor Susan Greenfield, the author of ID: The Quest for Identity in the 21st Century, “It’s as if all that young grey cortical matter is being scalded and defoliated by a kind of cognitive Agent Orange, depriving them of moral agency, imagination and awareness of consequences.” Basically, Greenfield told London’s Sunday Times, technology is stripping us of important traits and features like our imagination. Its sad to think that students are losing their imagination to technology.

Computers haven’t just taken away students’ imaginations, it also takes away our communication skills. This lack of skills will make it hard to live in the real world where you DO have to talk to people and you can’t just text them. You can’t get a job by simply e-mailing the company. You need to go in and talk to a person, face-to-face. Technology should not be the priority of the schools, human interaction should be.

Some say that this is just a new way to prepare us for the real world, but what they don’t realize is that they are just feeding the need for new technology. Modern technology makes things easier in some ways, but it should be limited in the classroom.