ABC TV showed a clip “Too Much Tech For Kids” on Wednesday, January 20th. I am wondering if there really is too much? What limits should we set, if any??
Here is an article from the Washington Post
Thank you for the comments, thoughts and ideas that were shared. Technology really is a resource and a tool. When used effectively students are able to learn an apply the knowledge gained. While growing up CliffsNotes became very popular and were often used to aide in understanding a novel that was possibly above a student’s reading level or just to difficult to comprehend (for me that was Shakespeare – something with the language just didn’t make sense to me). I also recall using a tape recorder and listening to books on tape while following along and looking at the pictures. These tools are no longer criticized. In fact, if you want to listen to Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling on CD you’ll have to wait in line. There is a long list at the public library to check out this popular book.
Let’s take a look at the new and exciting iPad from Apple and how it isn’t all that different from using those CliffsNotes or books on tape. This device is like using a paper book. You can turn the pages from right to left. You can view one page or turn the iPad to view two pages at a time. You get the pictures and the text just like a paper book. While reading, students can highlight a word and search for it’s meaning or other references within the e-book. The students can highlight a section of the book that they want to refer to, or even quote, when working on a book report for class. Want to have the book read to you while you follow along (just like that old tape recorder)?? Then turn on the Voice Over feature and the book is read to you. Hmmmm…only spending “38 minutes reading,” I don’t agree. With a tool like the iPad and the e-book feature students will be reading beyond this “38 minutes” mentioned in the news report. Apple’s iPad is not the first or only e-book reader. There are several other companies including the Sony E-Reader, the Kindle and the Nook from Barnes & Noble that have similar features and can be used in an educational setting as a great technology tool.
There are many other technology tools used in education. High School students today are more proficient on the computer than their parents were when they attended high school. I can recall using the Apple II E and C with floppy disks to create a newspaper for a Language Arts project. I also remember playing “Oregon Trail” on those same computers with those same kind of floppy disks. I gained a better understanding of the History of Lewis and Clark, Wagon trains and the geography of the United States. Kids can play similar games today on the computer. My Fifth grade son is learning about the history of the American Civil War and for the past several weeks has been playing the Hidden Mysteries – Civil War game from Big Fish Games. Through this game he has discovered how messages were often sent in code, what and how various tools were used by the soldiers as well as gaining a better understanding of the many battles and their locations. Online websites have become tools used in the classroom to enhance student engagement and learning of all subject matter in a very successful manner. Even the Nintendo Wii is used in Physical Education classes to enhance physical activity of the students. The popular game Dance Dance Revolution has inspired students to get up and move. They enjoy taking turns on the dance mat and doing their best to beat the game. The popular Wii Fit has inspired families to get moving and exercise in a safe environment. These are tools and when used effectively they aide the students in learning by offering engaging, educational activities.
I want to touch on the idea of cell phones in the classroom as one more tool that, when used in an effective manner, is a very important tool to use in the classroom. A local teacher recently won the Golden Apple Award for her outstanding use of technology with her Spanish Class at Pulaski High School. This teacher has the students use their cell phone to participate and respond to a variety of prompts. Using a Web 2.0 tool like Poll Everywhere students are able to send text messages to reply to multiple choice or open ended questions in the classroom. Although the response clickers used with SMART Boards, Promethean or even as an App on your iPod Touch are all excellent tools, they are also expensive with today’s school budgets. Educators are working with their administration to allow the use of cell phones in the classroom in place of these expensive response systems. The result is increased participation, student engagement and learning. Sorry parents, but it looks like you may have to look at that unlimited text plan after all. I do want to congratulate Ms. Titler, World Language teacher at Pulaski High School on winning the Golden Apple Award, you truly are an inspiration to the many teachers looking for ways to use technology in the classroom.
So when is it too much technology?? In a classroom there really isn’t too much. Technology enhances the learning experience and increases student engagement and learning. It’s outside the classroom that we need to look at. When students come home and after they’ve finished their homework, including that podcast on the Battle of Gettysburg, the Glogster poster for their Language Arts project related to the book The Cay by Theodore Taylor and their “38 minutes” of reading, that’s when we as parents need to say when enough is enough. I am more than thrilled that my son is using a computer and other forms of technology in learning. I am okay with him spending 30 minutes playing his favorite game on his Nintendo Wii or DSi, but that’s all he needs. We need time to be a family by doing a chore together, eating dinner together, talking about our day and making plans for the weekend…together. As the weather continues to improve here in Wisconsin we find ourselves enjoying the later sunset by going for a bike ride as a family, jumping on the trampoline or throwing the tennis ball for the dog to chase. Even if my son didn’t spend his day using technology in the classroom I still would limit the amount of time he is allowed on the telephone or computer chatting with his friends. He still would only be allowed to have 30 minutes on a school night playing on his gaming system. The time between the end of the school day and bed time is too precious to waste and in our house it’s family time.
My final thoughts include this…Educators, I hope you are using technology in your classrooms to enhance the learning for your students. You really can not have too much technology in the classroom. Parents, I hope you are telling your child when it’s time to put away the cell phone, shut down the computer or turn off the gaming system. After all parents, when we came home after school we did our chores, finished our homework, ate dinner as a family, and were allowed to use the rotary telephone to call our boy/girlfriend. I’m pretty sure my mom told me when it was time to say “good-bye” and hang up the phone, because she knew how much was too much.