Paper or Technology?

For the longest time teachers have been able to teach without using technology.  The “old-school” strategies were simply chalk and a blackboard, but with the advancement in the technology that we use for entertainment outside of the classroom we have surpassed, technology is having a negative effect on the learning process that is taking place.  Learning is harder when you have to unplug from technology and entertainment to listen to a lecture.  One of the many arguments in education is whether or not we should add technology to our teaching styles.  Some teachers feel that education has gone along without it for so long that students should still be able to learn without computers.  Others feel that the amount of technology that they may have to use at their future jobs means that we might as well get them use to working with it at a young age.  Both opinions have a great point.  On one hand, teaching without technology provides students with the hard skills of communication and collaboration with others that they will need in the work place.  On the technology side, most business today is done on a computer in which the consumer and producer never met or even speak to each other, so they should be well prepared with skills needed to handle the technology.  The arguments could go on all day on which strategy should be used more than another.  Why not try both?  Why not switch up strategies with the same lesson depending on the class?  Perhaps give students the choice of hand written or typed?

In my experience teaching in the United States, the Dominican Republic, Kenya, South Korea, Austria, Switzerland, and France, I have found that no classroom is the same from day to day.  Some classes work great with technology, while others work better when they put pen to paper.  Just like each teacher teaches differently, each student learns differently.  I’ve taught some classes using nothing but technology.  I have taught many classes using only pencil and paper.  I have even attempted to teach a few classes where no notes are taken and the whole class is spoken and then assessed.  The most helpful part is reflecting on what did and did not work, and then mixing together everything that worked to hopefully produce the best possible lesson plan.  Whether you decide to teach with paper or electronics, make sure that you are a leader, your students should be a reflection of who you are.  In the end we want to give students the appropriate skills that they will need to be successful.  So make sure that you are leading them in the right direction and if you aren’t sure how to do that, I’m sure you become a student yourself and study how to be a leader.

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