When Classroom Technology Impedes Student Learning

October 23, 2017 - Finding Carter

New research in a latest emanate of Education Next does an superb pursuit of capturing a perils of ed tech. Researchers Susan Payne Carter, Kyle Greenberg, and Michael Walker news intriguing though disturbing commentary from a randomized tranquil classroom examination conducted during West Point (for a in-the-weeds chronicle of their study, check out a Feb 2017 Economics of Education Review).

Payne Carter and her colleagues examined a opening of West Point sophomores in a core economics course. During open and tumble 2015, a researchers reserved participating category sections to one of 3 groups: technology-free (no use of laptops or tablets during class), technology-at-will (students could use what they liked, as they liked), and tech-limited (tablet-only with restrictions that done it tough for students to text, shop, or refurbish amicable media). The investigate wound adult encompassing 726 students in 50 classrooms over a dual terms.

What did a researchers find? On a three-and-a-half-hour final exam—which enclosed multiple-choice, short-answer, and letter questions—students in a technology-free organisation fared best. In a some-more worldly analysis, that accounted for instructor and time of day, they found that students in a technology-at-will classes had examination scores that were 0.18 customary deviations reduce than their no-tech peers—a statically poignant and flattering suggestive difference. No matter how they sliced a data, a researchers found no organisation in that those regulating classroom record outperformed their no-tech peers. Payne Carter and her colleagues note that this anticipating is unchanging with a handful of other recent, clever studies in that researchers also found that classroom record had disastrous effects on tyro learning.

What to make of all this?

First off, a researchers take caring not to overinterpret their results, noting, “We do not explain that all mechanism use in a classroom is harmful. Exercises where computers or tablets are deliberately used may, in fact, urge tyro performance.”

Second, a commentary unequivocally shouldn’t be that surprising. We know that dreaming pushing leads to accidents and that ubiquitous iPhones can be disruptive in film theaters and restaurants. While we’ve grown worried in observant so, it’s no good jump to commend that they might infrequently be disruptive or distracting in classrooms too. After all, teachers customarily ask students do things that can seem reduction fun than amicable media. There’s a reason that some employers guard a internet use of adults—it’s since even mature, paid employees would infrequently rather shop, check out ESPN or TMZ, or refurbish their Facebook comment than do their work. It’s not that surprising, then, that giving students a portal to all those diversions—even older, academically successful students like those during West Point—may get in a approach of learning.

Third, nothing of this should come opposite as some kind of anti-tech screed. After all, children are masters of daze and students have always found ways to balance out their lessons. Moreover, as Bror Saxberg and we argued during length in Breakthrough Leadership in a Digital Age, record can be a absolute apparatus for ancillary training and enchanting students. But what matters is how that apparatus is used, and Payne Carter et al. do a good pursuit of illustrating that simply charity students unobstructed entrance to inclination might offer conjunction rendezvous nor learning.

As we put it in Letters, “When we speak to a leaders of schools or systems heralded for their success with technology, it’s distinguished how consistently they brush past a tech in sequence to speak about learning, people, problem-solving, and redesign. That’s because they’re successful. That’s a right approach to consider about technology. It’s not about hardware, software, or cold gizmos—it’s about anticipating ways to give students a opportunities, time, attention, and support they need.”

My large regard is that today’s demoniac unrestrained for computer-assisted “personalized learning” will lead us to heedlessly assign into some all-too-predictable pitfalls, fueling one some-more cycle of ed tech faddism and disappointment. Here’s anticipating a champions of ed tech instead give commentary like these a courtesy and thoughtfulness they deserve.

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