Is technology in the classroom mostly a benefit to learning, or mostly a barrier? Educators have been debating the question for at least a decade. Yet the voices of the ultimate “end-users” - aka students - need to be included in the conversation, too.
You might be forgiven for expecting students to be uniformly gung-ho about classroom tech. After all, studies show young people currently spend more time on devices than any other activity - including sleeping!
But if you think students are in denial about the risks of classroom tech, think again. Studies show children have a surprisingly balanced understanding of the pros and cons.
A study by US researchers, published in the journal American Secondary Education, looked specifically at the use of mobile phones for school-related work. Researchers surveyed over 600 high school students in 10 schools at the end of a year-long trial of using smartphones as learning devices.
Participating anonymously, students identified serious drawbacks associated with classroom phone use. These included
- Distraction from ringtones
- Inappropriate content
- The erosion of writing skills
At the same time, they recognised a host of potential benefits, including
- Motivation for learning
- Improved attendance
- Increased engagement
Overall, nearly a third of students in this study believed phones should be banned from the classroom, although there were high levels of support for using phones in class, and 90% said they used phones for school-related work.
A Swedish study published in the journal Education and Information Technologies in 2018 also found that secondary students gave an even-handed assessment of their own device use at school. They described their personal technology as “both a tool that facilitates their school work and a distraction that the teachers pursue.”
Overall, researchers found, “it seems like students … are actually rather aware of when to use and when not to use their mobile phones.”
The key for schools is to find a way to maximise the benefits of classroom technology while minimising the barriers to learning. Family Zone Education Solutions is dedicated to exactly that mission. Our world-leading approach combines best-in-class technology with expert educational support across the entire school community. To learn more, or book a demo, visit https://www.familyzone.com/schools today.