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Kelsie Brooks

Mrs. Cramer

College Comp 1

19 January, 2017

Technology and Education

Technology is everywhere in education(Herold). In the United States, public schools

nearly depend on technology to get through lessons. Teachers use it to remind their students of

deadlines and some even require assignments to be turned in online. It has essentially become a

necessity. Devices such as computers or smartphones can be helpful in the classroom. At

Bradford Area High School, students use these devices in almost every class. Although it is what

they are used to, it is not always a good thing. Technology in the classroom is one of the worst

distractions amongst students(Shirky). Despite the distraction it may cause, technology in

education has opened many new windows for students.

In order to use these devices in class, public schools in the United States spend around

three billion dollars yearly on digital content(Herold). This goes into providing laptops for

students in the classroom, which are used constantly. Within the last two years, courses have

become available online as well as standardized tests. Research shows though, that most teachers

are slow to the advances. There is also little evidence to show that this new way of learning is

truly benefiting the outcomes of students. Some may learn better with one-on-one teaching or a

more hands on approach. Despite this, schools have purchased more than twenty-three million

devices in 2013 and 2014 in attempts to provide students with their own devices. Conventionally,

the goal of providing these devices is to give students a way to learn at their own pace and ability
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level, help them become prepared for the working world with technological skills, and improve

communication. Though these are reasonable goals, challenges are presented when it comes to

the price of these devices and the work that goes into changing teaching styles. A study by the

Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development found that countries where fifteen

year old students use computers most in the classroom scored the worst on international reading

and math tests(Herold).

Not all schools completely rely on technology though; they use blended learning. A

concept like this may improve test scores. Blended learning refers to combining the use of

technology with teacher-to-student lessons. This is one of the most common forms of education

as of now. Blended learning is an example of using technology to further research or to type an

essay after instruction has been given in class. Programs have been put into place to extend

internet access for assignments outside of school. Cost always causes an issue when it comes to

internet; schools in many parts of the country cannot afford high speed internet to go through

with blended learning. However, in 1996 the FCC established the E-rate(Herold). It has paid out

nearly more than thirty billion dollars since its inception.

The concept of blended learning has allowed one of the tremendous developments in

technology; online testing. The United States has begun giving the Common Core State Standard

exams online. The 2015-16 school year was the first year in which state required tests were

given through technology rather than paper and pencil, in elementary and middle schools in the

United States. Evidence shows that students score better when taking paper and pencil styled

tests, however that is only in the short term. It is likely that online testing will grow and become

the normal way to test. Full time online schooling has recently become the new trend. About

200,000 students are enrolled in online charter schools across twenty six states. Some states even
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require some form of online learning as a graduation requirement. For the students in rural areas,

online schooling gives them an opportunity to enroll in classes that they would otherwise never

be introduced to. Online schooling also aids students with busy schedules and could keep schools

running during snow days(Herold).

Along with all of the positives of technology in education, it comes with negatives

beyond the cost issues. Clay Shirky is a professor at New York University. He teaches theory and

practice of social media and used to allow use of technology in class. He has recently asked his

students to refrain from use of laptops, phones, and tablets during class. He says that when he

asks the students to put their devices away "it's as if someone has let fresh air into the room". He

has changed his policy from "allowed unless by request" to " banned unless required". This was

due to the effects that multi-tasking has on the students. Multi-tasking is thought to lessen the

load. People believe it will allow them to get more done in a shorter time. It has been shown that

multi-tasking actually has negative long-term effects on declarative memory. This memory is

what allows students to recall what theyve previously learned and apply it to the moment they're

in now. A study from Stanford has shown that heavy multi-taskers are worse at choosing what

task to focus on(Shirky). Laptops, phones, and tablets have been shown to make distraction

worse. It is not that the students don't want to pay attention necessarily, it is that the biological

alerts that people get when they see a notification are impossible to resist. Shirky states that

"asking a student to stay focused while she has alerts on is like asking a chess player to

concentrate while rapping their knuckles with a ruler at unpredictable intervals".

In conclusion, technology in education is costly, distracting, and not available to every

student. However, blended learning has been successful throughout the states. Without some

technology in the classroom students would not be able to get work done from home or research
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beyond the local library. Online exams and assignments are beneficial for thousands of students.

Technology may be distracting but for the students that want to focus on their education, it

provides many opportunities that can help them be successful in the long run. All in all,

technology is truly beneficial and even essential in education, when it is used correctly.
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Works Cited

Herold, Benjamin "Technology in Education: An Overview" published February 5, 20-16. Web.

January 5, 2017. (Herold)

Shirky, Clay "Why a leading professor of new media just banned technology use in class" The

Washington Post September 25, 2014