Tablet Tetris with Teachers

by mmann5 on September 12, 2013 - 3:47pm

The use of technology in schools is becoming more prominent.  Many elementary and high schools already allow students to use computers and tablets during class. Report cards are online and grades get uploaded instantly. In the case of Guilford County, they have introduced the use of Amplify Tablets as part of their curriculum (Rotella 2013). While the use of new technology is exciting and refreshing, it also raises the question of whether or not it is the right step in the current education system. Tablets are expensive, it takes time to train teachers, it increases screen time for students and removes a certain amount of contact teachers have with their students. But it also reduces overall cost of textbooks and materials for the classroom. The use of technology can be great, but only if used properly.

 

Amplify is part of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation. The tablets for Guilford County were paid for by the federal Department of Education’s Race to the Top program at the price tag of $30 Million dollars (Rotella 2013). Joel Klein, the chief executive of Amplify and an executive vice president of News Corporation expressed that the education system is due for a change (Rotella 2013). The K-12 education has been failing for years, the US being far behind other countries with testing scores. The use of tablets everyday in class and at home for homework greatly increases the amount of time young children spend in front of screen. Neurologists have expressed that even though the instant gratification produced by the tablet is “brain-friendly”, students lose social contact that is very important to their development (Rotella 2013). But will tablets really change the amount students are learning and growing? A question addressed throughout the article is whether or not this money should have been spent differently. Even Joel Klein himself said that teachers are the most important aspect of education (Rotella 2013). I agree that technology is a great tool for the classroom, but it won’t change everything. Teachers are the driving force behind education and bad teachers reflect a bad education. Not all teachers are “bad” but many of them are underpaid, have little resources and struggle with huge class sizes. Perhaps we should spend more money and time on our teachers before introducing tools to “amplify” student’s learning experience. 

 

APA References:

Rotella, Carlo. (2013). No Child Left Untableted.  Magazine: Global Edition: The New York Times. Online.

 

Comments

Where I went to high school, we had a set of 50 tablets that the biology and forensics teachers used in their classes. My senior year I took forensics and I got to use the tablet. From my experience they are a very useful teaching tool. They allowed us to perform some activities that we would otherwise not have been able to perform. However, I agree with you in that an Ipad or any other form of technology in the classroom is only a tool and cannot make up for a poor teacher. In addition each time we used the Ipads it was at the direction of the teacher. So they cannot replace a teacher either. I think teachers have to find a balance between using technology to teach and teaching in a traditional fashion such as notes or a lecture.