Technology in Elementary School Classrooms: a Positive Outlook

Brianna Noto and McKenzie See- Holbrooke, Editors

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According to a study conducted by MidAmerica Nazarene University, less than 42 percent of student work, including homework assignments, are completed using paper and pencil. The use of technology in education has been widely implemented throughout all grades, kindergarten through college. The negatives of using technology in classrooms are the most talked about, especially when discussing use in elementary schools, but what about the positives?

Technology is used daily in classrooms, and in some schools, there’s a one to one ratio of student to device. Silver City Elementary School 5th grade teacher, Katie Vaughn, is very supportive of technology use in her classroom. “I need it, I want it, I can’t live without it. I don’t know what I would do without it. There’s so much more we can do now with the technology. We use technology in everything we do. [My students] use a Chromebook all day. They get it in the morning and it usually stays with them until they go home in the afternoon.”

Her students complete lessons online and play educational games for practice. The games they play motivate them to learn and practice, “It’s interactive. They compete with each other in games, move up in different levels and get practice as they go.” Vaughn states.

Technology makes it easier for teachers to keep students engaged in today’s day and age than it was ten years ago. There are endless resources, including games, videos, and online storybooks. “[When learning to read,] students are less frustrated and more excited because they can hear and see the story come to life with animations,” says Whitlow Elementary School kindergarten teacher, Brittany Trautman. “They also pick up on the words used when listening to books online.”

Technology has also improved the development of some students upon entering elementary school. “Technology has advanced students that come into kindergarten with no knowledge of letter sounds or reading at all.” While students that come in knowing a little about reading are getting the same growth as they would without technology, they are still at an advantage.

Of course, with the many advantages that technology brings, there are some disadvantages. Distraction is a big disadvantage, especially when students can bring their own devices. “[Students] are allowed to keep their phones with them all day, so they check their texts and social media accounts during school hours,” Vaughn says, “Sometimes when they use school technology, they look up other things that have nothing to do with what we’re doing in class or send messages to each other through Itslearning.”

Technology also has a tendency to malfunction, leaving teachers that are heavily dependant on it, without anything for their students to do. Students also lose instruction time when teachers are trying to fix the technical problem or find something else for their students to do.

Even with the disadvantages in mind, both teachers agreed that technology use in their classrooms benefits their students, and enhances their learning experiences. Students are more engaged, motivated, and overall excited to learn when technology is used.