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WINGSPAN

The student news site of Liberty High School in Frisco, Texas

WINGSPAN

The student news site of Liberty High School in Frisco, Texas

WINGSPAN

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The Fresh Perspective: is technology enhancing or distracting learning?

In+this+weekly+blog%2C+The+Fresh+Perspective%2C+staff+reporter+Lea+Garcia-Salazar+talks+about+school+opinions.
Lea Garcia-Salazar
In this weekly blog, The Fresh Perspective, staff reporter Lea Garcia-Salazar talks about school opinions.

With the new cell phone procedure implemented on campus, technology’s role in education is being questioned. According to the new policy, phones must be stored in phone caddies, bookbags, or phone holders. Phones are only allowed during technology-based instructional activities, instructional brain breaks, and informal practice. 

Educators, parents, and students alike are divided on technology’s impact on learning. Those who oppose technology in the classroom often worry about excessive screen time, and technology being a distraction. Meanwhile, those in favor of technology argue that technology in the classroom provides teachers with more tools to support students, and prepares them for the modern workplace.

Technology in the classroom can contribute to excessive screen time. According to Pew Research Center, 95% of teenagers have access to a cell phone. Teenagers spend an average of 7 hours and 22 minutes a day on their smartphones. Excessive screen time has been linked to obesity, sleep problems, depression, and anxiety. This is because screen time can interfere with tasks such as getting enough exercise, doing homework, and being with friends. 

Because of the adverse effects associated with excessive screen time, teenagers are recommended to have at most two hours of recreational screen time per day

There is a concern that technology in the classroom increases electronic device exposure for students. The many negative effects associated with excessive screen time can be minimized if parents and teachers limit the number of hours students spend in front of screens. 

Technology in the classroom can impede academic performance and be considered a distraction for many. Study results by psychology professor Arnold L. Glass found that students who used electronic devices during class performed significantly worse on exams. Moreover, a study conducted by the University of Chicago found that the mere presence of a cell phone reduced people’s cognitive capacity.

The Canadian Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning surveyed 478 students and 36 instructors at the University of Waterloo. This study found that the use of technology in class was distracting to almost half of the students. 49 percent said the use of technology for reasons not related to class was distracting. 

Distractions in the classroom can prevent students from processing the information that is being taught. Because of the time spent on distracting activities, learning takes longer. Upon returning to learning, students have to refamiliarize themselves with the material. Switching back and forth between tasks causes mental fatigue which comes at a high cognitive cost. 

Educators, parents, and students worry that technology can cause distractions in the classroom and can worsen student performance. 

Technology provides teachers with more tools to support students. Teachers can incorporate a variety of learning methods such as PowerPoints, online assignments, and games. These tools help their students understand the material better.

Technology allows teachers to accommodate every learning style. Since content can be easily uploaded, teachers have the ability to test and provide various methods to guide students through a lesson. 

Incorporating technology in the classroom prepares students for the modern workforce. According to a 2023 report, 92% of jobs require digital skills. In the workforce, digital skills are defined as the ability to create and interact with content using digital services. The same 2023 report stated that one-third of workers have low or no digital skills due to historic underinvestment. Because of a digital skill shortage, 85 million jobs will be unfilled globally by 2030

It is also important to note that jobs that require one digital skill can earn an average of 23 percent more than a job requiring no digital skills. This is an increase of $8,000 per year for an individual worker. 

For these reasons, it is important to ensure students are learning digital skills the modern workforce requires. 

Technology in the classroom can enhance learning to an extent, however, it must be moderated. Implementing technology in the classroom extensively can contribute to excessive screen time and poor academic performance. However, it can be a great tool for educators and can prepare students for the modern workforce. 

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About the Contributor
Lea Garcia-Salazar
Lea Garcia-Salazar, Staff Reporter
Lea Garcia-Salazar is a Sophomore in her first year with Wingspan. She is a member of DECA and Aid4Need. In her free time, she can be found spending time with her family and friends, reading, writing, and volunteering. Lea is excited to be a part of such a fantastic group! Contact Lea: lea.garciasalazar.944@k12.friscoisd.org

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