Leadership magazine March/April 2019 V48 No. 4 - Page 22

The technological Trojan Horse Technology has dramatically transformed the classroom, and students along with it. But that change might actually be detrimental to the education of our students. 22 Leadership Not long ago, I could only dream of the instructional wonders of a wireless, technologically integrated classroom. At that time, my classroom was entirely “ana- log,” dependent on the adopted textbook and any ancillary materials I could scrounge from the internet or veteran teachers. I had an overhead projector that I barely used be- cause it barely worked, one 26-inch televi- sion mounted in the far corner of the class, and a VCR. That was the extent of my tech- nological integration. In less than four years, my classroom has been transformed into a veritable digital paradise. I now have an HD projector and giant screen with surround sound, a mobile cart filled with 37 Chromebook laptops con- nected to high bandwidth Wi-Fi, access to a class set of iPads, a personal tablet and new desktop computer, AppleTV and Netflix – not to mention more than 80 percent of my sixth graders own personal smartphones. I’m a bit of a hypocrite when it comes to integrating technology in my classroom. Up until recently, I praised the decision to thrust my classroom into the digital age. After all, lesson plans once dependent on pencil, paper and textbooks could be easily replaced by laptops and interactive computer simulations to create the “highly engaging digital classroom.” In essence, the new tech- nology would allow instructors to teach the way this generation of students expects to learn, rather than forcing them to learn the way we’ve been trained to teach. More im- portant, this newfound student engagement would, theoretically, benefit both learners and teachers. As soon as the cart of laptops arrived, I started to abandon old school pedagogi- cal devices and replaced them with in- teractive websites that not only assessed children on presented content, but also enthralled them with glowing primary colors and background music. Kahoot trumped pencil and paper quizzes, hand- By Jonathan Robinette