Benefits and Dangers of Educational Technology
I feel as an educator that the ultimate objective is to move students beyond basic skills and into higher level knowledge as these levels will give students an indication of how to apply this knowledge in the real world.
Technology in the classroom is an enormous key to this process, technology not only has a tremendous value in education it has become common place. Teachers need to include technology in the curriculum when it is required or enhances the lesson plan. However teachers need to use their experience as leaders in the classroom to make sure to use technology as a tool, and not as a crutch to keep students engaged. A hammer is just a paper weight unless it is used. Technology tools are the same way; they can be used in a number of ways.
Technology has changed education. It has made it easier for schools to save data of student scores and for later comparison. Technology has made it easier for teachers to display information through the use of video, web sites, wikis, search engines, and countless other tools. Technology helps to engage students by making learning exciting and fun. Part of the systematic process for education I believe is the goal for constant improvement. We currently live in an era of near constant technological improvement. I believe if schools integrate new technology into instruction at a steady and balanced pace, they will not only keep up with learning but move ahead.
But there are dangers and problems with technology as well. Inappropriate material is only a click away as literally millions of web sites are out there that students and in my opinion adults should not be accessing. Furthermore though a web site itself may have proper content, the advertising on the site may be inappropriate for younger people.
I also see a number of complications that can develop such as confidentiality as students submit work online potentially to be displayed for the world to see or sites requiring students to put in confidential information such as name, address, age, email, etc. Reliability of information is a possible problem, as much information coming from the internet is not vetted or verifiable. I see an issue with not all students having equal access from school or home to the needed technologies in the classroom. The last issue I will mention will be the fact that many teachers will not have the time or resources to keep up with these fast changing technologies, and will become reluctant to try.
I believe for schools to ensure a safe environment online for students that they need to be over protective. Web filters need to be set higher than perhaps needed. Technology needs to be screened and reviewed completely before being turned over to students. This is a catch 22 type situation as you do not want to hold back a school and its students to technology, but we must always be careful to what we expose them to as well.
Many schools need to have more professional development opportunities for teachers so they are not only prepared, but up to date. Web 2.0 technology and new web sites are being developed by the thousands literally every day of the year. This information needs to be researched by teachers, administration, or technology committees in a reliable and efficient manner. If this is done the positives certainly outweigh the negatives. Educational technology is here let’s embrace it.