Sunday, September 25, 2016

Teachers vs Technology

We live in a crazy world. We live in a world where we have forgotten how to speak; where we have forgotten the importance of face-to-face conversations; a world where people of all ages 'hang out' by sitting together and staring at their phones. We live in a world that encourages greed for what we don't have, rather than thankfulness for what we do. We live in a world that wants the next best thing; a world that obtains excitement from material things rather than moments experienced. We live in a world driven by technology; a world that has become increasingly advanced in those regards, and a world that in my opinion, is falling in a somewhat uncontrollable manner towards not knowing how to communicate without it [technology] at all.

The summer before I started college, I was asked a countless amount of times what I planned on doing with my life; what I wanted to major in, what I wanted to be, etc. I had no doubt in my mind that I wanted to be a teacher, but every time I told someone this, I received an incredible amount of skeptical remarks. While a lot of these remarks have stuck in my head since then, some of the ones that stick out the most are ones that regarded technology. I was told that teachers weren't going to be needed eventually because of all the technological advances. I was told that it was pointless for me to become a teacher, because by the time I graduated there wouldn't be anywhere for me to go. For me, these reasons only made me want to be a teacher even more. It is so frustrating to me that our world is being controlled by technology, but even more than that, I can't wrap my head around why we are allowing technology to overtake our schools as well. And that is something I want to change as a teacher.

As I am going into my teaching career, it has become even more apparent to me that our world is caught up in the so called excitement of having and using new technology. I do believe that technology can be helpful in some instances, but I also believe without a doubt that it is more distracting than helpful. This is evident not only in our everyday lives, but also in that of our schools and the way we, as teachers, are choosing to teach our students each year.

I know it could be argued that not all school systems want technology to take over completely, but as technology continues to advance, it seems as though it's simply the easier thing to do. People, especially teenagers, are so obsessed with technology already, that it just seems wrong to include it in the 7-8 hours they're at school as well. As a part of the class I am currently in, we have explored a few options of online math sites that teachers can use to help teach a lesson. One of these is called Desmos, which allows a teacher to select one of several different games that will help students explore concepts further and will test each students' understanding of those concepts. While exploring this site, I have come across some activities that may be helpful in obtaining a general assessment of student learning or may be useful in introducing a topic before jumping in. In this way, I can understand how making use of this site could provide a chance for students to experience learning in yet another way and allow for them to have fun doing so. However, I strongly believe that this should be the extent of allowing technology in a classroom.

Just in the past few years, school systems have begun incorporating the use of more technology in their classrooms. In my opinion, this is more work than it's worth and simply gives students access to yet another distraction. I mentioned in my last blog post that I think it is a key goal for teachers to engage their students and make them excited to learn. However, the use of technology in the classroom, while it may make students excited, gets in the way of true learning. True learning incorporates hands-on activities for our students, encouraging them to put action into their learning, and helping them to try different things in an effort to help them feel engaged. Although I don't feel that using technology to implement these things is any different than reading out of a text book, I would say that using a small amount of technology in the classroom to introduce a unit, or to find out how well students are learning material is acceptable if a teacher really desires to do so.

These ideas are only one person's opinions, and no one has to agree with them, but because of this topic's importance to me, I still want to ask a few questions to end my post. Isn't it our job, as teachers, to prepare students for the real world; to teach them about the essentials in living an adult life? It has been explained to me, that it is a part of a teacher's responsibility to educate students for three major dimensions of life: as individual persons, as citizens in a democracy, and as participants in economic life who must earn a living. As it stands, are teachers helping with this? Is technology helping to achieve this? More and more students are experiencing social anxieties when asked to participate in a face-to-face conversation, but are completely fine when communicating via technology. As teachers, we are educating the future educators of the world, the future lawyers, the future doctors, the future president. This is our job; would it be so hard to educate without using technology? We live in a beautiful world, one that was created for us to experience both in and out of the classroom. It would be a shame to watch it pass by without partaking in the grand adventures it provides.

In any case, I am a math teacher in the making, a fellow math nerd, and these are just some of my thoughts. Thanks for reading.


  1. Love this post. Big ideas, expressed well, with honest inquiry into important questions. Great.

    clear, coherent, complete, content, consolidated +

    Shared this on Twitter, would love to see some comments from other teachers.

  2. I think Dan Meyer says it best here:

    I wasn't familiar with the term collective effervescence, but I wouldn't be happy in a classroom that was missing this.

    I've had students that had to take online courses b/c of prerequisites...that they didn't like it and that they didn't feel prepared for the next class.

    The argument that I've always had is -you can be the smartest person in the room, but if you can't relate to will not be successful.

    1. Add one more thing as a parent...I don't want my own children taught by sitting in front of a computer.

  3. Hi, Kelsey. Thank you for your post. You have raised some serious questions about how technology can and should be used in the classroom. Thank you for giving me something to think about.

    I have found that technology slows me down and helps me pay closer attention to what students know and what they don't know yet. We use technology as a classroom response system.

    When we use technology for an inquiry based approach to content - using dynamic action geometry or graphs - I find that technology slows down my students, causing them to ask more questions than they would otherwise: what happens when, what if, ...?

    I wrote a post about using dynamic geometry technology to explore a task:

    And here's another about my use of technology in general. (How is what's important - not the brand):

    I hope these posts might show that there is a way to purposefully use technology to move student learning forward.

  4. As the first person to read your post, again I love this. We had a long conversation about this one day together. You have brought up so many topics that need to be talked about. As a future teacher I completely agree with you thoughts. I want to find other ways to teach things without technology. I especially agree with how students have social anxiety due to all the technology. Again love your post and look forward to reading your future posts.