Computers and smartphones versus notebooks and books

When modern teacher’s faces great challenges it’s because to control the use of smartphones within the classroom, many questions arise: what if the students are constantly connected to the Internet which can cause constant distraction? Question is, why not turn the spell against the sorcerer and implement the use of computers and cell phones as study tool’s? Why not use technologies as a replacement with conventional textbooks and schoolbooks, or at least give students freedom of choice? An opportunity to experiment.


I know that these are controversial issues. On the other hand, the computer gives us access to quality content, updating us in real-time, but on the other hand, it also gives us access to poor content that can only be used to distract student during class.


However, the idea between combining two study tools below – implemented by some teachers, seems to work well as a pedagogical resource: images, videos, and interactive programs attract the students’ attention and motivate them to learn. Software and applications allow teachers to make an almost instantaneous feedback assessment. But the big question remains: Should students exchange their notebook and textbook for the computer?


The issue are divided opinions. Some parents, teachers and students are in favour of change’s, others are against it, and still others prefer to advocate the complementarity of the both resources. Who will win the debate? Time will tell. But in the meantime, nothing will stop us from exploring other topics about the use of technology in the classroom.


Good value for money?

It’s true that electronic devices are getting more expensive than books, but it is also true that students (dare I say all high school and college students) already have a smartphone and a computer. Therefore, the cost-benefit ratio may be reasonable, if we consider the fact that parents that brought these devices for their children and for other purposes, regardless of the annual expenditure on school supplies (with notebooks and exercise books and removing them from the equation which adopted textbooks that are free until the 12th grade). However, how can we not consider this as the most disadvantaged to students who have recently been targeted for not having Internet access equipment or network, to follow classes online during successive confinements?


Inclusion of different types of students?

Much is to be made of technology as an inclusion factor, since it can be used in the classroom (online and offline) to include benefit all kinds of students with special needs. But this brings us back to the previous topic: What about the financial disadvantaged students? Would they have an appropriate support from the state? – While we wait for the answer, can we continue to live to live with different social life. Having a class separated by lack of technology access to the internet from those who are determines which are the students that can have access to more expensive equipment.


Less weight in the backpack?

If students and parents often complain about the weight of their backpacks, why doesn’t this argument have force in the discussion about the use of technology in the classroom? The adoption of digital books, which young people can access quickly and easily by smartphone, tablet or PC, would reduce the load (higher than recommended by doctors) that they carry on their backs, with notebooks, textbooks, activity books, cases…


More interesting and dynamic classes?

Does the dynamism and interest of a class depend solely and exclusively on the teacher and the profile of the students? Or does it also depend on the teaching resources? Indeed, as they are used to using technological devices, students may feel more unmotivated in lecture classes with exclusive use of printed books. But would the enthusiasm to use the smartphone and computer in the classroom be synonymous with attention and result in improved school results?


Prevention of eye problems?

Within the current opposition to the use of computers in the classroom, one hears everything, including that the computer is bad for the eyesight. Is this true? Or is the computer itself not harmful to the eyesight of children and young people, and is it prolonged exposure to screens that can have negative effects? Most electronic devices emit blue light, yes, but it can only be harmful to eye health if protective filters are not in place.


Greater comfort and convenience?

Parents and teachers may not agree, but the truth is that students are unanimous: they feel quite comfortable reading through screens and show no signs of fatigue, unlike older people who prefer printed books, even though there are e-books that simulate the white paper of books and the layout of texts.

More options to choose from?

In O Público

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About Luís Horta

He has been a teacher in Portuguese Public Education for over 25 years. So far, he has helped create and develop more than 700 businesses in different areas in his career.

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