Merging technology with education has been a slippery slope, and in some schools, it has been an absolute disaster. Educators across America who have implemented tablets as a way to save paper and sync student work to their own personal device believed it sounded like a great idea, but the burns are now surely being felt.
Michele Frazier and her co-worker Nick Alsis have always believed that technology in the classroom should be limited as the devices provide extra distractions for the student and their classmates. Ms. Frazier, who has more than 20 years as an educator, believes firmly in writing and says that writing down notes or even drawing diagrams with the traditional pencil and paper helps the brain register, retain and remember information better than pecking away at a touch screen via notepad apps.
“When you write with a pen or pencil, you feel it as the tool glides across the paper. Same thing with drawing. I believe this feeling is closely connected with our brain’s ability to remember,” said Ms. Frazier. “We see the same memory with using buttons or keys on a keyboard because we can feel them and that muscle memory catches on so fast. You don’t have that with a touchscreen device and I think that is what makes education with them more of a struggle.”
Just as there are some educators who are against the transition from paper to tables in schools, there are also those who say the table is the best thing that has ever happened in their classroom. Michael Mally, an educator from South Florida, says tablets have changed the game and the way his students do their work and learn altogether. While he does admit the distractions with them are there, he says it’s no different than children using a pen and paper to doodle or draw on themselves.
“The fact of the matter is, people are going to do exactly what they want to do,” said Mr. Mally. “Children all over draw in their books, on their homework, play with their pencils and even throw them at other students. It’s time to stop finding excuses and realize our job is to teach as effective as possible. The tablet has achieved that for me.”