14 Replies Latest reply on Mar 25, 2014 8:47 PM by glen_w

    How Much is Too Much Technology in the Primary Classroom?

      As  teachers of young children, we know that we can use technology in  meaningful ways that are developmentally appropriate.  We also  understand that, to provide a 21st Century learning environment, young  children must be exposed to a digital world with all it has to offer.   Technology can make learning fun and can be used to differentiate  instruction.  Can there be too much screen time in the primary classrooms?    Do you think that using computers in a class, for educational  purposes, should be limited?  Why?

        • Re: How Much is Too Much Technology in the Primary Classroom?

          Robbie, when I was in the classroom I taught K-6 music and "computers".  In the computer class by the end of the year, my Kinders could open, close and save a Word document.  They could "type" a VERY short sentence and I had them go to a site hosted by the Palm Beach Library called "Mousercise".  Here is the link.  http://www.pbclibrary.org/mousing/mousercise.htm    My first graders could do all of the above and they could also do basic process on a document such as change font size, color and style.  They also knew how to format a picture so they could move it around the page.  With these skills, they were then ready for most of what was to come in grades 2 and up. 

           

          I did very little online music with the Kinders as I wanted them to create with the real thing before moving online. I did show them videos, etc, but that was the extent of their online experience in music.  With the 1st Graders, I had them go to several music sites where they could create music online.  They had the opportunity to play and see what happened when things such as meter, key, etc were changed and doing this online was easy to do. 

           

          In short, technology has its place in the primary classroom, but, they will be online soon enough.  Let's not put them in overload to early.

           

          Neil

            • Re: How Much is Too Much Technology in the Primary Classroom?

              Your examples of what our youngest students can do is testiment to their capabilities.  I belive that we must prepare our children in all areas, technology included. Their learning should be authentic and technology is a large part of many children's lives. That being said, I totally agree that our youngest shouldn't be overloaded with too many digital activities, but offered a balanced education with hands-on, active learning opportunities.

               

              Thanks for sharing "mousercise".  I will be sharing it with others!

            • Re: How Much is Too Much Technology in the Primary Classroom?

              As a Prek teacher, I hear other teachers of young children discussing this issue every year. Personally, I think that we need to have a healthy balance of technology and other developmentally appropriate activities available at all times. Teachers need to thoughtfully plan for the use of technology. To just put an iPod or iPad or computer in the classroom with no guidance or purpose might give outside observers the impression that the teacher is really keeping up with the latest technology trends, but what exactly is he/she trying to accomplish? There are so many apps now available for these devices and it takes time and careful planning to make sure that the children are really meeting your objectives. I am one of those teachers who does have a lot of technology in my classroom, but I also set some short and long range goals. We might start our day with the morning message on the interactive white board (IWB), but not every day. There are digital microscopes in the science center and lots of living and non-living things to explore. The iPods and iPads are available during literacy time, some with audio books, some with writing, alphabet, making words games and puzzles. Computers are also available with tumblebooks and/or starfall. The wireless pad (part of the IWB system) is also a center and children are encouraged to write words/their names and draw pictures-great for eye-hand coordination. Digital cameras and Flip cameras are available for students to record their work and new learning which are used in a pictorial calendar of daily learning. By the way - these digital media devices are also available during open center time. With all of these technology opportunities going on, children are still using play dough, drawing pictures, painting, playing in the block center, reading books, manipulating objects, playing in the sand/water table, caring for pets, writing a letter to a friend, playing in the dramatic play center, and so on. It is up to the teacher to make sure that the children experience a wide range of activities - both technological and non-technological. It is always interesting to see these little 4 year olds enter my classroom with hands-on experiences using technology...if they have it at home, why shouldn't we extend and support their technological learning...these are digital natives...it just seems natural. 

                • Re: How Much is Too Much Technology in the Primary Classroom?

                  Having worked with you and seen your classroom, I know that your students have access to an active, engaging, and balanced environment!  The technology in your classroom is intentional and focused, making it educational and effective.

                   

                  I came across an article by the NETC (Northwest Educational Technology Consortium), a consortium that is made up of the state education agencies from Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington, and the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory in Portland, Oregon.  They suggest that technology is part of children's everyday lives and that computers and other technology should only be used when appropriate and effective.   The article has suggestions for best practice in technology integration and ideas for incorporating technology into math and language arts. I hope you will enjoy the article; it is concise and is something that you might want to share with other teachers.   http://www.netc.org/earlyconnections/primary/curriculum.html

                • Re: How Much is Too Much Technology in the Primary Classroom?
                  erroth

                  I think too much technology is when it is used just for the sake of using technology. It turns out that sometimes using paper and pencil is better than using a keyboard, a class discussion or simulation is better than a video, and handling an actual game board or book is better than playing or reading online. Technology should be used purposefully, to one's advantage. Here are a few examples: using calculators for more efficient number crunching, using movie editing software to edit movies, using a digital microscope to project slide images, and using digital probes to accurately measure temperature.

                   

                  One more note: another case in which there is too much technology is when the tech tools aren't working well but we still use them. I have some older digital probes but they are not longer accurate. I continued to use them for the sake of learning how to use them, but the data was not good. I finally gave up on using them. Another example: our mobile cart of laptops was dying. It might take 15 minutes just to get online. I would have students sitting in front of a laptop for all that time just waiting. Finally, I banned the laptops.

                    • Re: How Much is Too Much Technology in the Primary Classroom?

                      Eric,

                       

                      I agree that any technology integration must be purposeful; best practice should be considered just as it is in any other content areas.

                       

                      It sounds like your classroom and campus may be having the same issues that many campuses are having.  Older hardware, lack of funds to update, and lack of funds for technology personne,l are problems that plague many schools.  Do you think that we (schools/school districts) will be able to financially keep up with the growth in technology?

                    • Re: How Much is Too Much Technology in the Primary Classroom?

                      The conclusion I have reached on, is that it should be 'technology for education' not 'technology for technology'

                      • Re: How Much is Too Much Technology in the Primary Classroom?
                        vkajones

                        Good disussions are happening here. I'm in agreement with many of the points. Especially, that technology should be used as a tool and not just for the sake of using technology. Since our students are digital natives, using technology is an integral part of their lives. They have been taught to use technology as a tool. As educators, we must continue to guilde the younger students in choosing the appropriate tool for the task.

                         

                        Vanessa

                          • Re: How Much is Too Much Technology in the Primary Classroom?
                            cgardne

                            Yes, technology is a tool and one that should be used by all, teachers and students.  Often times, many teachers feel that technology is a class time and then just send their students to the lab.  Those teachers do not take the time to learn what valuable resources technology can provide within their curriculum areas.  Why do they still think technology is a class?    I do believe that administration can help with the understanding that technology is a very valuable tool to be used.   By using technology in their staff meetings, the principals can positively instill that fact.  If teachers are also encouraged to share and model a useful technology tool that they use at each meeting, it will help build a technology resource pool for all to use within their classrooms.  Teacher time for using those technology tools also needs to be given.  How can you use that tool, if you haven't been given the time or haven't explored that tool yourself?   It does require that time to "play" in using that tool.  I do believe it's important for all for the "play time".  What a better way to learn about a new technology tool!

                             

                            Carolyn

                          • Re: How Much is Too Much Technology in the Primary Classroom?
                            lwenske

                            Yes, I agree with the points made here--striking a balance is key and utilizing technology to really push forward students' thinking and class learning is what it's all about.  Sometimes it's much more logical, meaningful and worthwhile to use real human interaction or real life hands on tools (like reading a book aloud and engaging in quality discussion rather than only showing a video of a read aloud just b/c it's available).  Of course, there are always times that showing a read aloud via video format is really helpful--I'm not saying they're not helpful or useful.  We must be careful in the choices we make and in how we decide to use particular tools and resources.  Plus, sometimes we have to weigh whether the technical troubles we may encounter will be well worth the class time spent on troubleshooting.

                            • Re: How Much is Too Much Technology in the Primary Classroom?
                              shapiro

                              I agree with Lisa. It is so important to help foster our young learners and help them advance their technology skills but there has to balance with non-screen time, too. Many of our students are already coming to us as experts with devices such as iPods and iPads. However, there is quite a gap between them and my students who have not been exposed to these devices. I would like to help ensure all of my students have the opportunity to excel and be prepared for the digital world. I've noticed some teachers will just put their students on websites in the computer lab but not take the time to teach a technology skill and/or really use that time to tie it into what we are learning in the classroom in various subject areas. I think technology should be used to reinforce what we have to teach. It can be used to introduce topics, provide background information, used for extension, and re-teach.

                                • Re: How Much is Too Much Technology in the Primary Classroom?
                                  cgardne

                                  In our state, it has now become very important for our students to know the general workings of using the computer.  Our state has moved to computer state testing.  Time must now be given to our students so they understand how to scroll through text, drag and drop, turn on sound, find where to find the ruler and calculator (if given that option) and type.  The question in many of the schools is:  "Who is responsible for teaching those skills?"    What are your thoughts?

                                    • Re: How Much is Too Much Technology in the Primary Classroom?
                                      glen_w

                                      Carolyn,

                                       

                                      I do not know who is going to be "responsible for teaching these skills." I think the core expectations for most grades and subjects does not provide time for "computer skills." Will those without computers at home score lower as a result?

                                       

                                      I think testing too early might be challenging and not provide accurate results. I just reviewed some of the types of computer expectations on our state test with my students and they were shocked. I was surprised at how challenging drag and drop or highlighting was for some middle school students. I wonder how effective our new state test results will be.

                                       

                                      Do you think students in your area are technology skilled enough to succeed on this year's test?