When personal technology devices such as iPods and mobile phones made their debut, most schools created regulations that prohibited students from using the devices in classrooms because they were considered to be a “distraction”. As these devices have grown in popularity, however, they have become a part of everyday life for adults and children, and teachers are becoming more open to the idea of allowing them in the classroom.
A survey by Netgear of teachers attending the British Educational Training and Technology (BETT) conference showed that 77% were in favor of allowing iPods, smartphones, and other electronic gadgets in schools for learning purposes.
“We talk about kids of today being the digital generation with iPods and various smartphone devices, and the teachers seem to be quite happy to embrace that, rather than the scenario in my day when everything like that would probably just be confiscated,” Netgear product manager Peter Airs told PC Pro this week. “I personally thought teachers would say: ‘we don’t want these sorts of things in our schools, they’re a distraction to day-to-day education, but teachers are a lot more forward thinking than that.”
In addition to these gadgets, teachers also want more connected classrooms. 80% of those who responded to the survey indicated that they’d like to use the Internet more during their lessons.
“Teachers want to embrace social media, resoundingly saying they want to use Facebook and YouTube as part of their learning experience, to collaborate with other schools and people in other parts in the world,” Airs said.
However, tech devices tend to be quite expensive, and that presents some security and equality issues for schools. Airs compared the situation to that of trendy clothing and accessories that students wear.
“It’s almost like school uniforms, isn’t it?” he said. “Do we want the uniformity of everyone having the same? Only some kids having the latest and greatest gadgets is going to be an issue.”
I have long been in favor of schools being more open to personal tech devices that are used in the “real world” by adults every day. I believe that students should not only be taught how to use them, but also the etiquette surrounding when use it is and is not appropriate. Unfortunately, many schools are already lacking the budget to even teach children the basic subjects. Maybe corporations like Netgear will be willing to help provide the funding that schools would need to incorporate more tech in classrooms.