In a recent New York Times article, readers learn about the latest legislation involving the education system and technology. Idaho is forcing technology to be included in the classroom by teachers in addition to requiring high school students to take online classes. Lawmakers are declaring which programs should be used in the classroom and how. Teachers “receive a grade” for whether they use technology in their classroom, placing added pressures to a potentially already high stress job.
Teachers are divided on the topic. Majority are opposed. Fears include lack of training, being unable to incorporate specific technology into their teaching methodology, eventually being replaced by a computer, and budget cuts for salaries to compensate for the new equipment. Yes, they see the benefit to incorporating technology. However, the limitations and regulation of the usage is disheartening.
Personally, I lean toward the side of the hesitant teachers. My personal technological experiences are limited and often frustrating. In addition to the demands of teaching my subject area, will I be required to teach programs that I barely understand? What will happen to the students that don’t have a computer at home to work on classwork after the school day?
Now, don’t get me wrong. I will incorporate technology into my classroom as much as possible in a manner that fits with my subject and my students’ abilities. I feel that this technological push by Idaho will soon be followed in other states. I’m afraid of the social implications that will come from this. Will plagiarism increase? How do students develop interpersonal skills when they are encouraged to automatically turn to a computer for help? What happens to spelling and writing skills when you only type? I’m hoping Idaho uses technology in addition to direct teaching instead of making technology the foundational skill of what a good teacher needs to reach their students.