One of the most significant changes in education over the past 50 years is the introduction of ever-improving technology into the classroom. As with all changes, this development has had positive and negative implications. Some people wonder if the increased use of technology has an overall negative effect on the education of U.S. teenagers. Any conclusion must be based on a consideration of the pros and the cons of using technology in educational settings.
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The use of computers, the Internet and interactive whiteboards has opened up a world of opportunity to students, who consequently have access to a great deal more information, which can help them learn and conduct research topics. The Internet has played a huge role in making such information accessible. The variety of topics and the diversity of the activities that can be completed to aid learning has also expanded. This makes learning more fun for students and suits a variety of different learning styles.
Another benefit for students and teachers alike is the speed at which students may learn, as technology has reduced the time required to create or access resources. There are also very few occasions when a student will be required to take lengthy notes because printed information is available to them. Teachers and students also save time by using the computer to complete work rather than spending time writing out work and drawing diagrams.
Using Fewer Basic Skills
One of the major concerns about technology in the classroom is that it prevents students from developing and using basic literacy, math and communication skills, all of which are essential in both day-to-day living and working life. The exclusive use of computer-based tools such as spelling and grammar checkers, as well as calculators, enable students to complete assignments without knowing how to manually perform those same functions.
A common problem in classrooms is the failure of technology due to technical difficulties. While equipment is being repaired, students experience delays in their learning. This counteracts the time-saving benefits of technology. To prevent learning loss due to these difficulties, teachers must be prepared with other resources and task assignments.
A Distraction in the Classroom
A serious negative effect of technology on teens' education is the distraction that it may pose within the learning environment. The opportunity to access social network sites and games can tempt students away from planned learning activities. Such distractions can hamper their overall progress and their potential to succeed. It is important that teachers monitor the use of games and social network sites to ensure that students remain on task and complete assignments. Such attention by teachers can ensure that the overall effect of technology on U.S. teens in the classroom is positive.