For decades, schools have been scaling up the technology incorporated into the classroom, from small computer labs designed to teach basic computer skills to student-assigned tablets for more complex, daily assignments (and occasional play).
Parents, lawmakers, and even some educators have spoken out against this trend, arguing that excessive classroom technology could end up doing more harm than good, but the foundations for most of these arguments are unsupported by empirical evidence.
Arguments against Classroom Technology in School
These are some of the biggest myths about classroom technology in school…and here’s why they’re unfounded:
1. Social limitations. Some argue that students who use technology in school regularly will be less socialized than students who are forced to interact only with other students. The idea here is that technology is a substitute for human interaction, and will have a negative effect on developing children’s social skills.
However, this is misleading for two reasons. First, technology can have a positive or negative effect on a person’s social development, depending on how it’s used—some technology can actually improve communication skills. Second, technology isn’t being used to replace social interactions—it’s being used to enhance them, and replace traditional textbooks and obsolete technologies.
2. Distractions. Some parents argue that technology poses more of a distraction than anything. Children could use their tablets to play games unrelated to the learning process, or refuse to follow the curriculum when a device is in front of them.
This is absolutely true, but it isn’t an inherent problem with technology—it’s an inherent problem with children. Anyone who’s been in a classroom knows that anything is a potential distraction, whether it’s writing notes on a sheet or paper or sending a text message. Technology doesn’t make the classroom any more distracting than it already is.
(Next page: Classroom technology myths 3-5)