There is no doubt you have wondered whether the unlimited access to technology this generation has is influencing them for better or for worse. When it comes to education, we see more and more technology infiltrate the classroom. Some see the rise in technology use as turning our kids into zombies who stare blankly into their computer screens and do not think independently.
However, a Stanford report explains, “technology – when implemented properly -can produce significant gains in student achievement and boost engagement, particularly among students most at risk.” The key here is “when implemented properly.” Yes – there are cases when too much technology does have a zombie-like effect on kids. But, more importantly, when we use technology to the right extent for the right purpose, it simply changes education.
What Turns Our Kids into Zombies
Unfortunately, kids who have too much screen time do seem like zombies. For example, The American Pediatric Association has studied and produced screen time viewing recommendations. We are even hearing about kids who are addicted to their smartphones or video games. Therefore, for some, the use of technology in the classroom raises a red flag.
However, on the flip side, others have argued for years that standardized testing and teaching to the test is also a way of producing students who are zombie-like. Students who learn to memorize facts without developing critical thinking skills seem like zombies.
Therefore, it is possible whether you use technology in the classroom or not, students can seem to have the same zombie-like responses. The key is a balance. The AAP explains, “For school-aged children and adolescents, the idea is to balance media use with other healthy behaviors.”
What Teachers Need to Do in the Classroom
Teachers should not use technology just because they can. Instead, the technology they choose to use in the classroom should support the curriculum and meet the needs of their students. For example, just because technology is new and exciting doesn’t mean it needs to be brought into the classroom. However, if there is technology that will help students understand the lesson in a relevant way, then it should be used regularly.
Additionally, teachers must reevaluate how they teach using technology. For example, students know how to find answers on Google with ease; therefore, teachers should help students navigate their way through online content, as well as focus on using critical thinking questions rather than fact-based questions.
What Parents Need to Do at Home
The issue of technology and zombie behavior does not fall on teachers alone. Parents are responsible for teaching kids to use technology in healthy ways. For example, parents should be setting limits on technology use and modeling appropriate technology behavior.