Technology no substitute for good teaching

How can students resist the temptation to send tweets or post to Facebook? The short answer is they can’t. I’ve been in university level classrooms where students are playing games, updating their status or watching a movie. If adults can’t resist, why should we expect young people to do so?

Many computer labs have this problem in control via monitoring using two strategies. The first strategy is simple: computers are around the perimeter of the room, with screens facing in. The second strategy is like Big Brother: computer labs are equipped with computer monitoring, so the overseeing teacher can view any student screen on her own computer.

Cell phones are also making their way into the classroom. Yes, the TDSB banned them about six years ago. And then they reversed the ban in 2011. They decided that it would be better to control and use this capability. Cell phones would be allowed in the classroom at the teacher’s discretion and only for educational purposes.

Some teachers keep a tight rein on cell phone use – all cell phones must be off and in the backpacks. In my younger daughter’s school, if students are caught texting, the phone is confiscated and returned either by the teacher at the end of class or by the school office at the end of the day (at a cost of $2).

Some teachers in other schools have told me that they wouldn’t dare confiscate a student’s tech device because they could be accused of breaking it, and then the school has to deal with angry parents demanding compensation. Consequently, texting in class runs rampant in that particular school. It seems that control of cell phone in the classroom probably varies a great deal.

How could a cell phone be used in class? Some teachers call on their students with smart phones to access the Internet for classroom purposes, say, to answer a factual question that comes up in discussion. The drawbacks, however, are many, as students are easily distracted from what’s going on in the classroom, especially if a friend is texting them about the latest social drama. My hunch is that cell phones will not be used in most classrooms but that eventually student laptops and tablets will.

How can students resist the temptation to send tweets or post to Facebook? The short answer is they can’t. I’ve been in university level classrooms where students are playing games, updating their status or watching a movie. If adults can’t resist, why should we expect young people to do so?

Many computer labs have this problem in control via monitoring using two strategies. The first strategy is simple: computers are around the perimeter of the room, with screens facing in. The second strategy is like Big Brother: computer labs are equipped with computer monitoring, so the overseeing teacher can view any student screen on her own computer.

Cell phones are also making their way into the classroom. Yes, the TDSB banned them about six years ago. And then they reversed the ban in 2011. They decided that it would be better to control and use this capability. Cell phones would be allowed in the classroom at the teacher’s discretion and only for educational purposes.

Some teachers keep a tight rein on cell phone use – all cell phones must be off and in the backpacks. In my younger daughter’s school, if students are caught texting, the phone is confiscated and returned either by the teacher at the end of class or by the school office at the end of the day (at a cost of $2).

Some teachers in other schools have told me that they wouldn’t dare confiscate a student’s tech device because they could be accused of breaking it, and then the school has to deal with angry parents demanding compensation. Consequently, texting in class runs rampant in that particular school. It seems that control of cell phone in the classroom probably varies a great deal.

How could a cell phone be used in class? Some teachers call on their students with smart phones to access the Internet for classroom purposes, say, to answer a factual question that comes up in discussion. The drawbacks, however, are many, as students are easily distracted from what’s going on in the classroom, especially if a friend is texting them about the latest social drama. My hunch is that cell phones will not be used in most classrooms but that eventually student laptops and tablets will.

Margaret Hoogeveen is a local writer, editor, and mother mhoogeveen@sympatico.ca 416-699-2608

email

Did you enjoy this article? If so, you may consider becoming a Voluntary Subscriber to the Beach Metro Community News and help us continue providing the community with more local content such as this. For over 40 years, our staff have worked hard to be the eyes and ears in your community, inform you of upcoming events, and let you know what and who’s making a difference. We cover the big stories as well as the little things that often matter the most. CLICK HERE to support Beach Metro News.

Click here for our commenting guidelines.

Leave a Reply

*