I can still remember when I was younger and my mom just got the new iPhone. I was amazed that in that one device she could call, text, play games, take pictures, and even hold music. I cradled it in my hand as though if I touched the screen with too much pressure it would crack. I grew up in the age where we had computer labs in schools where basic computings skills were taught. As I grew older, technology began to become more incorporated in schools: the overhead projector was replaced by a SMART board, the old VCR and TV on a cart was replaced by projecting directly onto the whiteboard, and many other improvements.
My younger brother is currently a sophomore in high school and owns two notebooks. Maybe. All of his assignments are on the Chromebooks the school provides to the students. Now, the rise in technology is nothing unexpected. It is completely natural for technology to proceed beyond leisure and pleasure to more substantial methods of incorporation.
However, questions arise whether it truly is beneficial to the students to rely so heavily on laptops in schools to do their work. Is it more of a distraction rather than an educational tool? Even growing up, if we were connected to the school wifi, the firewall blocked us from accessing social media sites. Being the procrastinating students that we were, it was not difficult to find measures around the firewall. Proxy sites like LetMeIn were popular at the time but children have begun to get even more creative. Since Chromebooks are centered around Google and Google Drive, students have been using this to their advantage. What may appear as a Google Doc may actually contain embedded links to TV series and movies. There is no fancy method to obtain access to this. After one person creates this, it can be easily shared with the entirety of the school by just entering email addresses of the students.
If students are able to maneuver their way around something as simple as that, this could provide implications for much more serious matters such as testing and quizzing online. While educational programs such as ALEKS and Mastering have proven useful in outside practice, the key word is outside. Such high dependence on laptops and other technology inside of the classroom should be reevaluated.
This differs from classroom wide technology such as SMART boards. In middle school and high school, we used them frequently for games and more group and interactive learning styles. It helped us to collaboratively work out problems and learn new material. Individual laptops diminishes this effect as students are sitting for eight hours just looking at a screen. Then when they are told to go home and do their homework, they are left doing the same thing they had been doing at school: sitting in a chair and staring at a screen. There are much more effective ways to incorporate electronics into the education system. Many qualms have already been spoken about millennials and their ongoing dependence with technology, attributing it to an inactive and unsocial life. Now why are we trying to bring this same problem in their school life as well?