Technology is everywhere. In fact, you’re probably reading this on a computer, phone, or tablet. While we live in a technological era, it should not touch every aspect of our lives, especially education. Digital learning is becoming more and more prevalent in schools, and while this is often seen as beneficial, it is more harmful than helpful.
Many schools have tablets such as iPads, but instead of using them for schoolwork, students play games and take selfies. Also, buying class sets of laptops or tablets is really expensive, and in a world where teachers don’t even have enough money to print out papers, spending so much on technology seems like a waste of money. While digital learning has benefits, such as personalized learning, it’s not worth the expense of buying the technology for it. When some schools invest in technology, they have to cut budgets in other departments, such as art or music, or lay off teachers, both of which should come before technology.
Digital learning entails online instructional videos, which I disapprove of. Videos, such as ones on YouTube and Khan Academy, should not replace teachers, but rather, serve as only a supplement. The most effective method of learning should be from teachers, and this also allows the students to ask questions and clarify what they don’t understand. Social interaction between teachers and students is very important, and digital learning encourages students to Google answers instead.
It is already a well-known fact that technology makes people more socially inept. Can you imagine a classroom filled with students, all immersed in their laptops in their own little world? Soon, those students wouldn’t be able to participate in classroom discussions or learn from their classmates. Students would lack the skills needed to become skilled and active learners.
Standardized testing such as the STAR, and other important tests including AP exams, the SAT and the ACT, aren’t digital. While technology can personalize learning to students’ needs, when it comes to testing, they will be at a disadvantage. Also, digital learning means less handwriting essays, which is essential in AP exams and the SAT.
Starting digital learning in elementary or middle schools is a bad idea, as it exposes children to technology at a young age. If they learn to associate technology to education, they won’t realize that there is a difference and that technology is not always good.
While digital forms of learning can boost student’s excitement, it does not guarantee a rise in test grades. For example, the Kyrene School District has invested around 33 million in technology since 2005, but scores in math and reading have not gone up, leading many to question the effectiveness of digital learning.
Maybe I’m biased because I grew up using textbooks and reading actual books, but I prefer printed materials over digital ones because I can concentrate better, and many people feel the same way. In addition, digital learning can offer many distractions, as it uses the internet, making it harder to concentrate and learn. Also, digital learning means an increasing dependence on technology, making people lazier. If kids grow up using digital everything instead of textbooks, they won’t even be able to do research with books, use a glossary, or rely on themselves instead of Google to get the answer.
Although digital learning has its benefits, its cons outweigh its pros, and is not prudent in a time where budget cuts are so prevalent. For now, we should stick to the good old textbooks and whiteboards.