There’s no doubt that technology is a popular learning tool in K-12 schools. But is it as popular amongst students as one might think?
According to a recent Huffington Post article, students aren’t always thrilled about using technology for learning purposes.
After conducting interviews with students in the district of Quakertown, located in Pennsylvania, the Huffington Post reported that many students saw drawbacks to the increased use of technology in schools, especially technology that allows for personalized learning.
While personalized learning certainly has its benefits, it can be a lot to expect of students to learn at their own pace.
Jonathan Wulffleff, 15, an eighth grader in Quakertown, is a fan of the cyber courses he’s taking in addition to his face-to-face classes. “If you have issues, you can watch the video again,” he said. “With a class, you only get it once and you have to remember it.” Still, he said, “I slipped for a little while and was really upset, because last year I did really well.” The reason? “It was distraction related.”
When students are responsible for their own learning, it can be easy to become distracted or tempted to use the technology for purposes other than learning, especially when students have a hard time engaging the subject matter.
Other students noted that online courses weren’t as rigorous or challenging as live courses. “You can take tests with your notes right in front of you, you don’t have to memorize anything,” said Cheyenne Knight, a student at Quakertown Community High School.
While providing students with the opportunity to take online courses helps them learn at their own pace, it can also decrease their motivation to learn. In a traditional classroom setting, students are held accountable for staying focused and on task by teachers who can monitor the classroom. When students participate in learning online, they have to hold themselves accountable, which can be difficult for anyone, especially a middle school or high school student.
In order for students to get the most out of technology in (and outside) of the classroom, it’s important teachers set expectations and provide opportunities for students to apply what they have learned online to classroom activities and projects. This can ensure that students are engaged in what they are learning online and provides them with opportunities to collaborate and interact with classmates.
Furthermore, parents need to be informed of how their children are using technology to learn. When educators, students and parents all have a common understanding of the goals and expectations of a technology initiative, it is more likely to succeed in improving learning.
Even when technology is involved, learning isn’t always exciting. To help students stay motivated, consider having a discussion about expectations and the benefits the technology will bring to students’ educations.
For tips on how to make technology successful in improving learning, check out this guide: How to Ensure Digital Learning Makes an Impact on Education..