I think technology closes the achievement gap, especially for those learners who may need accommodations due to various disabilities. I agree with others’ opinions that technology is a tool, to be beneficial only if wielded appropriately. Teachers have the responsibility to ensure students have access to any tools that may enhance successful learning. I have personally seen a student nurse using a, “talk-to-text” phone app in a clinical setting, due to severe dyslexia. Without this technological tool, she most likely would not have succeeded through nursing education.
Other technological tools that students use in the Practical Nursing Program at Saskatchewan Polytechnic include a ‘high fidelity simulation lab’. This is the use of a computerized mannequin as a patient in a simulated hospital environment, that provides students a practice run through real nursing scenarios. A 2012 article from the ‘Open Nursing Journal‘, states that simulation leads to improved interpersonal communication skills, and to improve students’s critical thinking and self-confidence.
I think that cell phone use has gotten a particularly bad rap because of ‘texting while driving’ accidents, or improper use of phones socially or professionally. If one associates technology only with cell phone use, it is no wonder that they might be opposed to using technology in general, in the classroom. In the classroom, students may be distracted by using cellphones; however without a cellphone those same students most likely would distract themselves in other ways. As mentioned in our last class, students need to learn etiquette of technology use such as not answering their phone in class, or turning ringer to silent.
Other forms of technology in the classroom may include the use of Powerpoint, YouTube videos, or in class surveys such as surveymonkey or wordcloud to promote learning. In the Practical Nursing Program, we incorporate technology in adult education in many different ways including online courses, online lab preparation exams, phone apps like, ‘nurse central’, and smart boards, to name a few.
In elementary and high schools, teachers should try to incorporate more use of cell phones in positive, educational ways, which would take away the thrill of having to hide it. I remember I had one teacher in high school that offered pillows for students who would rather sleep in his class. That way, he said, they weren’t disturbing others. This would be a similar approach in the classroom, if students were not forced to hide using their cellphone.
On a news website, ‘The Telegraph’, a 2016 study proposes that kids are so addicted to using cell phones that taking them away actually will cause, ‘smartphone separation anxiety’ so high as to affect learning and even grades! It goes further to state that ‘technology breaks’ should be offered in the classroom to lower anxiety and actually help to regulate cellphone use. Completely banning cellphones in the classroom is not the answer.
In the Practical Nursing Program, we are moving all course exams to be completed using personal electronic devices instead of written on paper. Students cannot use smartphones to ‘write’ exams, but instead can use personal electronic devices like tablets. They download an application called, ‘ExamSoft’, which locks down any other computer use during exam time. The rationale is that it this is more realistic as the Practical Nursing national licensure exam is written electronically.
The younger generation is completely immersed in technology, so I feel it is our responsibility as teachers to show students the right way, or etiquette of technology use. We have to find out what is most relevant and beneficial to students by getting back to basics and actually asking them, such as through surveys. More research has to be done to discover how technology may be best incorporated and beneficial in the classroom.
I think that to stay relevant and therefore engage students in learning, teachers must use technology to maximize and enhance learning.