I have to say, last week in my blog post, I said that I was rather nervous for the debates, especially mine. However, this past debate was so engaging that I really enjoyed the format! It did, however, make me a little more nervous for my own. Especially since our topic is slightly controversial, but we got this Elizabeth!
In the debate, it was argued, back and forth, whether or not technology in the classroom enhancing learning. This topic was a difficult one for the “disagree” side since this is an EdTech class. Most of the people here, I assume, are proponents of the “agree” side, especially if you signed up for this class.
However, I think that the disagree side raised a lot of points that many people deal with every day, either from coworkers that are a bit more Luddite-esque (Thanks for the obscure word, Aubrey) than others, or from administration (or from the division office), who agree that the cost for technology that actually works is too high.
I’ve found, in my own Kindergarten classroom, that most of the disagreeing voices that I hear from are from parents. I use a blog where, every day, I update parents on what we did that day and I add any pictures that I’ve taken as well. The only negative response I’ve ever had about the blog was one parent who didn’t read my blog and was slightly upset that he had listened to his five-year-old daughter on the start time of the field trip instead of checking the permission slip or my blog…
I’ve also had parents ask me about screen time in my classroom, worried that all I do in Kindergarten is sit them in front of screens and then ignore them. I feel like this is a common worry of parents when it comes to technology in the classroom. This worry can stem from studies decrying technology or maybe a bias against teachers.
However, there are even more studies that show the many benefits of technology, even in younger classrooms. This one shows that sharing an iPad helps develop collaborative skills in Kindergartens. Which then leads them to success on all kinds of standardized tests (hooray. But that’s a different topic!) I use iPads in my classroom as an easy method for my French Kindergarten kids to hear French from someone other than me. Sometimes it’s music or videos of French speakers. Often it’s games in French as I try to “backdoor” their learning. (Lori is rubbing off, Jeremy.)
We need to use it for so many things that to not have it be a part of our classroom is doing a disservice to our students. We don’t know what their lives will become, but I want to do my best to make sure that the children in my Kindergarten classroom are prepared for whatever does come.
And that means using technology in the classroom.
So, if you are struggling with questions such as “who is right?” “should we be using it?” that’s a good thing. I think that the purpose of this debate was to raise these questions, with the idea of answering them, at least in our own mind. And that way, we can go forth and be supports to our students, so that they can thrive and do even better – with all the tools available.