YouTube Videos in Math: Technology in the Classroom.

When a school superintendent says 'you'd be hard-pressed to find a chalkboard' in any of the schools in his district, the statement might give one pause. While videos, iPads and other digital devices are undoubtedly the wave of the educational future, some parents and even students themselves are wondering if there's simply too much technology in schools. Is technology making things too easy, or is it supplementing traditional teaching methods in ways that are beneficial and long-lasting? Schools offering Mathematics degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

educational technology SMART board clicker

Chalkboards Quickly Becoming Memories

In many schools across the nation SMART boards, laptops and electronic 'clickers' are replacing chalk, erasers and chalkboards. Digital games and social network sites are becoming increasingly popular learning tools. Some schools are using Palm Pilots; others are allowing students to bring in their own netbooks and electronic readers. And in some cases, even textbooks are going digital! Welcome to education in the 21st century.

But is too much technology. . .well, too much?

Not necessarily. While it's true that some parents might fear that technology is making their children too dependent (take the Pennsylvania mother who did not buy her daughter, a fourth-grade student, a calculator because she felt the child should be able to do simple math in her head), many want their children to benefit from what technology has to offer.

Advocates say that elementary and secondary school children have had technology integrated into their lives and utilizing it for educational purposes simply makes teaching, and learning, more relatable. A growing number of teachers are relying on simulations, online games and videos to show students rather than just lecture. Using the technology children have grown accustomed to in other areas of their lives for learning purposes has been shown to heighten enthusiasm, not to mention academic performance.

A 'Well-Balanced Diet'

Does this mean that the old way of teaching should go the way of the chalkboard?

Many say no. Schools should simply find a way to incorporate both old methods and new technology. 'It's a well-balanced diet,' math teacher David Taylor told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review in August 2011. However, as a 2010 Public Broadcasting System survey shows, technology is outgaining old school methods by a large margin. Nearly 100% of K - 12 teachers use digital media in the classroom. Just over 75% stream or download video content. And student-created websites are valued by nearly 50% of teachers.

Still, balance is sought. For instance, Melissa Bracco, principal of Homeville Elementary School in West Mifflin, Pennsylvania, advocates both technological and traditional learning. While computers, interactive whiteboards and calculators are provided by the school, students are still expected to complete hands-on projects when learning basics like shapes and letters and to write reports with pen and paper.

Even incorporating a bit of technology into a curriculum can lead to academic success. Take Maryland teacher Stacey Roshan. Roshan teaches Advanced Placement calculus at Bullis School, a private institution in Potomac. As a way to better engage her students, Roshan uploaded her lectures to iTunes and had the students listen to them at home. Class time was spent on discussing and working out problems. As a result, average AP calculus test scores rose from 3.59 to 4.11. And those scoring a 5, the highest score on an AP test, rose by 10%!

As many see it, the use of technology is twofold: it not only prepares students for the future, it can also help to impart information in a way that children can relate to and that might make it more accessible and understandable. And if children can as a result better retain what they have learned haven't schools, whether by whiteboard or chalkboard, accomplished one of their most vital goals?

Laptops may one day replace textbooks and traditional school supplies; find out how the Classmate PC by Intel looks to facilitate learning for schoolchildren around the world.

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