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Running head: providing students with tech 1

Providing Students with Technological Devices


Daniela Gardea-Mesta
RWS 1302
University of Texas at El Paso

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Abstract
Schools providing students with their own laptops or tablets is a big discussion right now
because some argue that is if very effective and good for students while others believe that it is
nothing more than a distraction and the money could be used for something more effective. The
research was done online as well as in person with interviews and surveys this allowed more
access to observe different sides and reasonings behinds peoples points of view. As well as
giving two students who had used chrome books in high school a survey. Throughout the
research it was found that technological devices have good impact on students learning most the
time depending on how they are being used. Because of how they are being used can really affect
a students learning enhancement positively or negatively.

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Providing Students with Technological Devices
1.5 million is the number of iPads that are currently being used by American students
according to graphs.net.(graphs.net) This number is a reflection of how technology has become a
big part of peoples everyday lives especially in the education world. A few years ago in grade
schools the only technology that was in a classroom may have been a TV and a couple of
desktop computers. These were used for educational purposes to help students get a better grasp
of the subject being taught. But as time has progressed and changed there has been plans to
provide students in grade schools with technological devices which would be used for the same
educational purposes. However this new plan, although it has many supporters there are people
who think it may not be the best idea. Allowing students to have technology devices for school
has brought great controversy and because of that this research paper will discuss the different
questions being asked. The questions are; If incorporating technology is beneficial, if it helps to
enhance a students learning, how specifically are these devices being used, and if investing
money for technological devices for students outweighs doing other investments for students
learning. All of these questions are what bring great controversy to this topic especially for
parents and schools because the students learning should be improving and this may be away for
it to improve.
Is providing students with technological devices beneficial for learning?
Students go to grade school to learn everything they can before going out into the real
world and going off to college. Grade school is supposed to prepare students and give them the
knowledge that is necessary by any means possible. One of the means that is being discussed to
allow students to benefit from learning is to provide technological devices such as laptops or

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tablets. A lot people strongly believe that providing these devices will be beneficial while others
have a hard time believing how beneficial it could be.
EdTechReview an online resource has written an article titled, Using Technology in
Education: Does it Improve Anything?, this article describes how having a laptop or tablet
allows students to have access to numerous amounts of different credible resources that can be
helpful.(Saxena, 2013) By being able to surf the web while in class for helpful information
students are able to comprehend the lesson much easier. This is because, the internet also
provides a variety of knowledge and doesnt limit students to one persons opinion this is
according to Soamya Saxena the author of the article in EdTechReview. When a teacher is
explaining something to the class the student having a device has the liberty to go on the internet
and look for other examples or someone elses way of explaining what the teacher just did. These
devices allow a student to learn at their own pace instead of feeling rushed or also feeling that it
is too slow. The article Technology in the classroom: the benefits of blended learning by
Timothy Honeycutt explains how a student is able to get more direct help from the device as well
as from the teacher. With the integration of technology, students are able to get direct,
individualized instruction from the computer. It also gives the teacher more time to
accomplish classroom objectives, while freeing them up to help the students who might be
struggling with certain lessons.(Huneycutt, 2013). Having two ways of getting help when
needed in the classroom is quite beneficial to the student because they dont have to wait a long
time if the teacher is helping another student. This allows the student to benefit from what is
being taught because they will always have a source of help available to them.
Although there are ways in how it may be beneficial there are those who believe that
implementing technology cant be very beneficial to the students learning. Some argue that

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although there is numerous amount of different resources available to students a lot of those
resources may not be credible and may be giving out wrong information. The online article,
Technology in the classroom: Beneficial or not? by the online source Skillip argues that when
students have a laptop and are able to search the web for information needed the information
given may be completely wrong because they dont know how to search properly. (Skillip, 2013)
Teaching students how to effectively search the internet for credible sources may take too much
time therefore they arent being taught and students dont necessarily which sources are reliable
and which ones are not. Another argument about distribution of
technological devices to students not being beneficial is that the
devices may cause distraction. In a survey conducted by Daniela
Gardea directed towards students who had been provided with
laptops or tablets, one of the answers given when asked if they
thought the devices were effective was that the laptops were a
distraction because they knew the teacher wouldnt know if they
were playing games. (Gardea, 2015) This shows that students
may get distracted with the devices by playing games or
listening to music or even looking up something that was not allowed. Having distractions and
incorrect information brought upon getting laptops seems to not be beneficial to students
learning.
There are many reasons why devices are beneficial and many reasons as to why they are
not beneficial. Some more reasons can be seen in the photograph by Dubeau from
edtechvoice.com.(Dubeau, 2014) There are instances where they can be very helpful and help the
student get a better grasp of what is being taught. But there are also instances where students

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may not be learning what they are supposed to learn because it is a huge distraction or it gives
them incorrect information. However schools should mainly focus on what the students would
truly benefit from to ensure a great education.

Does using technology enhance a students way of learning?


Enhancing students learning is the goal of a school system. To be able to teach the
students what they need to know the best way possible. And recently a possible way to enhance a
students way of learning is by using technology that was given to the students. When having
access to technology in a classroom environment it is said that students are able to gain skills that
will be helpful in the future. By learning to use technology in the classroomstudents will
learn the critical thinking and workplace skills they will need to be successful in their futures.
(Huneycutt, 2013) Because technology is becoming a huge part of the world today students need
to be able to know how to properly use technology. Knowing that will allow for greater ease in
college in in the workforce. Technology however can enhance a students way of learning also in
the way of providing visual and audio content to help picture the lesson plan and better
comprehend it. According to Concordia Online in the article, Pros and Cons of Allowing Digital
Devices in the Classroom, being able to access videos pertaining to what is being taught can be
much easier for student to digest because it is in another form other than talking. (Concordia
Online, 2015). For example children who are barely learning to read may find it very helpful to
hear what is on the book, this option is provided when the students are given laptops or even
tablets. Another reason was brought up in an interview with teachers from Harmony School of
Innovation in El Paso (HIS). In HSI students were given chrome books two years ago to take
home and use them in a classroom. When interviewing Mr. Sanchez a Pre Cal and Algebra

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teacher and asking if he thought these devices enhanced the students learning he said, It
enhances their learning because since technology is something they use daily they become more
engaged inside the classroom.(D. Gardea, personal communication, October 27, 2015).
Students are able to retain more information and be focused in what is being taught because they
are using something that is very familiar to them.
However, there are some people that dont believe technology could enhance a students
way of learning tremendously. Because according to the Write Check Blog students do not go
into depth when doing research because they believe all they need is available on the internet.
(Write Check Blog, 2011) But there are many different sources available with helpful
information that may be available in library books. Providing devices may encourage students to
depend only on technology rather than on outside sources as well. Another argument that is made
is that with so much information that is being put on the internet having a laptop gives the
student easier access to cheat on assignments given in class because the answers could be found
online. Having easier access to cheat will encourage the student to do so and will lead to a
punishment that may not have been necessary had students not had such access to technological
devices.
To be able to enhance a students learning the school has to do what is best for the
students learning. By choosing to incorporate technology to enhance the way of learning allows
students to learn many things not just what is being taught in the class but also learn skills for the
future. But it is possible that it doesnt enhance the students way of learning but actually
encourages them to cheat and to look no further than the internet.
How are the devices being used?

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The way in which the laptops or tablets are used should be important because that is what
can determine if students should have them or not. These devices can be used in two ways, for
educational purposes only or for recreational use. Using them for educational purposes can have
a lot of benefits for both the students as well as the teachers.
Teachers usually have big classes and arent able to accommodate their students for their
own educational needs and sometimes this can hurt a student in the long run. For that reason
providing students with laptops can be very effective on their learning. The National Public
Radio (NPR) did an interview with Joel Klein who is the CEO of Amplify which is the
educational division in the News Corp. During the interview school technology he stated, And
what a tablet enable a teacher to do is customize the learning experience. A teacher is able to do
that by sending customized lessons to the students through their technological devices to fit their
educational needs. This is in turn will be beneficial to the student in the way that they get more
personalized learning and the teachers may feel the sense of accomplishment that students are
learning effectively. This is one way that these devices can be used for educational purposes, one
other way is when students are able to conduct research with all different kind of sources
including the internet. It helps them know that there are different sources that are reliable. Not
only is doing research in the device a way to help students out but also with younger students
they are able to play educational games to help them understand what they are leaning in a fun
way. Being able to use in a fun way yet educational makes students excited about being in
class.(Skillip, 2013)
Like a lot of objects there is a good way to use them and then a bad way to use them. A
bad way to use technology given to the students for educational purposes is by using it in a
recreational way. Concordia Online explains that when students have access to social media they

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will become tempted to use it not focus on the lesson plan of the day. (Concordia Online, 2015)
With laptops given students, they are given the liberty to do all sorts of things that do not in any
way involve the lesson plan and are not in way educational. There may be ways to block out cites
for social media and games however there are also cites that unblock the blocked cites. This can
be a distraction to a lot of students and seeing others due it may encourage other students that
playing games or social media is okay while the teacher is teaching.
How students and teachers make use of technological devices is what says how
successful they will be at that point in time. If a teacher uses the laptops wisely by personalizing
lesson plans and if they students use them solely for educational purposes there will be a great
outcome in the way of learning. However if they are used for recreational purposes while meant
to be used otherwise then not much learning will be taking place.
Does this investment outweigh other educational investments?
Providing all students with laptops or tablets can be viewed as a good thing or bad thing
and one the discussions about it is if all the money being invested is actually serving of some use
for students learning or if the investment should go towards something else other than
technology?
In 2010 the Huffington Post reported in an article that the Department of Education had
given $7million dollars to help fun schools in incorporating technological devices in every day
classroom setting. Bill and Melinda Gates also donated $20 million dollars to help fund schools
in that process. (Huff Post Education, 2010) With all this money some schools were able to
provide students with their own laptops or tablets for school which many saw as a great thing
because it enhanced their way of learning. One way that it has enhanced the way of learning is
that it has some increased some test scores. According to an online article titled, 5 research-

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supported benefits of technology in the classroom, a small study was done where fifth graders
were given technological devices to study fractions and after a few weeks took a test. In this
results the student scores had increase 15% than they were when they took the test before getting
the devices.(Sanders, 2014) Although this was a small study it goes to show how it can improve
test scores and that the investment on the devices made a difference in the students learning.
Although it has shown that in can enhance a students learning the big investment in
technological devise should be considered thoroughly. One reason as to why it is not such a good
investment is because it is wasting money. Student from K-12 are given a big responsibility
when they are handed a technological device that is not cheap. A lot of students cant handle the
responsibility and do not take care of the devices. According to Mrs. Agins who is an English
teacher at HSI where student were given personal devices she stated, When it was time to return
the devices at the end of the year the chrome books were all coming back damaged and
broken.(D. Gardea, personal communication, October 27, 2015) This shows that some students
cant be given such a big responsibility. Not only that but students dont always take the lessons
so seriously or classroom time so seriously that proving those devices would create an even
bigger distraction for students. Investing a lot of money into devices that will distract students
even more from learning and getting something out of the class may not be a good investment.
Conclusion
Technology is taking over the United Sates slowly and people change to keep up with
technology. Keeping up with technology is causing schools to implement technology in
classrooms and providing students with personal technological devices. Providing these devices
is a big discussion because people want to know if they are beneficial to the learning of students,
or if they enhance the way of learning in some way, but mostly if the huge money invested is for

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a good reason. But in the end the answer is as to how effective the devices may be is in the hands
of the students and teachers and what they do with it.

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References
Dubeau, M.(Photographer). (2014, January 27). Pros and Cons of the flipped classroom [digital
image]. Retrieved from: http://edtechvoice.com/what-is-a-flipped-classroom/
Gardea, D. (2015). Technology Devices Survey. Unpublished manuscript. University of Texas at
El Paso
Hunneycutt, T. (2013). Technology in the classroom: the benefits of blended learning. National
Math+Science Initiative.
Retrieved from: http://www.nms.org/Blog/TabId/58/PostId/188/technology-in-theclassroom-the-benefits-of-blended-learning.aspx
Kid tech. Graphs.net
Retrieved from: http://graphs.net/statistics-technology-usage-children.html
Martin, M. (2003). School technology: pros outweigh cons. National Public Radio
(2007). Pros and cons of alowing digital devices in the classroom. Concordia Online Education
Retrieved from: http://education.cu-portland.edu/blog/tech-ed/pros-and-cons-of-allowingdigital-devices-in-the-classroom/
Sanders, J. (2014. 5 Research- supported benefits of technology in the classroom. EDTech.
Retrieved from: http://blog.learn2earn.org/5-research-supported-benefits-technologyclassroom/
Saxena, S. (2013). Using technology in education: does it improve anything?. EdTechReview.
Retrieved from: http://edtechreview.in/news/681-technology-in-education
(2013). Technology in the classroom: beneficial or not?. Skillip.
Retrieved from: https://skillip.wordpress.com/2013/04/01/technology-in-the-classroombeneficial-or-not/
(2011). Pros and cons of technology in education. Write Check.

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Retrieved from: http://en.writecheck.com/blog/2011/11/20/pros-and-cons-of-technologyin-education/
(2010). Technology in schools: weighing the pros and cons. Huff Post Education.
Retrieved from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/10/22/technology-in-schoolswei_n_772674.html