I figured I would post my speech up as I go, so if anyone is checking this out you can see the direction i'll be arguing.

Prominent environmentalist and founder of many environmental organizations, David Brower, once proclaimed that “all technology should be guilty until proven innocent.” Brower’s position regarding the damages created by technology has nothing to do with its use in today’s classrooms, but does provide a valuable insight into one of the most significant issues facing our educational system. Many proponents of technological integration in the classroom argue the need for a transformation to take place in both the styles, resources, and methods of delivery used by teachers. The use of computers, smart boards, online blogging and web 2.0 learning are all examples of these types of technological innovations in the classroom. Though these resources are available, their overall effectiveness in regards to teaching remains in question. Technology isn’t essential for teaching. For learning in the classroom to take place, Our teachers need to teach and teach well. Whether we are using a chalkboard, whiteboard, or smart board the most important part of educational process is that the teachers connect to their students and make them care. The tools that teachers use does not substantially change what their students learn. Technology may have its benefits if it used correctly, but at this current time in our educational system the use of technology is more harmful than beneficial to our students. Because of the distractions that it can create, the long term effects it has produced, and the indefinable lines of privacy and security that exist; the use of technology in the classroom puts our current students’ education in a compromising position.

Teachers have always had to deal with distractions in the classroom. Passing notes, day dreaming, and sticking magazines inside textbooks have kept students from being on-task and fully engaged in their education for years. Today technology presents an even greater problem for teachers educating the youth of the nation. Now, these distractions which initially may have troubled teachers, sometimes come in full color and stereo sound. They may involve communicating via e-mail or cell phones with someone across the room or across the globe, or even watching a full-length feature film or playing a game. There is a pressure on teachers today to use scintillating things in their classrooms to compete with the web. Because students are constantly exposed to the web and the media, approximately 53 hours per week among U.S. youth, students crave this type of technology in all aspects of their life. Some may claim that if a teacher is really interesting and exciting, students will be less inclined to be distracted by irrelevant stuff. Of course one will generally pay more attention to something that they are interested in, however this does not mean that students will not try to listen and still engage in additional activities. In fact, some students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) view school and conversation as the same and believe that they can multitask, or talk, listen, and chat in everything that they do. Most students feel that they are good at multitasking and can learn in this manner, however researched has proven otherwise. Professor Clifford Nass of Stanford University conducted groundbreaking research on how well students can multitask and selected students that he considered high level multitaskers who could work on about five or six tasks at a time. After conducting his experiments and research, he came to a conclusion that all multitaskers, though think they are brilliant at multitasking are in reality actually lousy at it as compared to completing one activity at a time. Regardless of any class setting, students will become bored and tools like laptops only gives them the urge to surf the web instead of engaging at the task at hand. Students will argue that they can be on facebook while completing the necessary tasks, but research has shown that they become less effective. According to a survey on the Encyclopedia Britannica Blog, 95 percent of students have admitted to using laptops in class for purposes other than taking notes, such as checking e-mail, surfing the web, and instant messaging. Ninety-eight percent reported seeing fellow students do so and have identifies other students’ laptop use as far and away the biggest source of distraction during class. Laptops, the internet, and other technological tools can be useful tools but in many classrooms they are more of an attractive nuisance. In addition to the threatening distractions that technology can create, the short and long term complications further display the harm of its nature.

In order for the implementation of technology to be effective, teachers must be skilled in utilizing these resources. Teachers must be trained to efficiently utilize and teach with technology. Implementing technology will not necessarily make an effective teacher if they are not knowledgeable and skilled in how to use their tools to reach their students. Lack of funds and support from teachers and administrations highlight that just because technology is in the classroom, does not mean it will prove effective. As well as the problems in teacher education and preparation, the presence of technology has further presented short and long term obstacles facing our students and teachers. One problem that teachers face in classrooms where their students use laptops is the limited interactivity that laptops can create. David Cole, a professor at Georgetown University has banned laptops in his classroom because they encourage verbatim transcription and students tend to no longer process information in a way that contributes to the give-and-take of classroom discussion. Taking notes the old-fashioned way requires students to slow down, think and prioritize the most important themes. Even when students are using their laptops for the right purpose, laptops still disrupt the learning experience. While technology can present short-term problems in the classroom, the long-term effects that it can produce are extremely frightening. It appears that this constant exposure to technology has produced a deterioration of the critical thinking, and writing skills in today’s students. Marc Prensky highlights the fact that teachers seem to have increasing problems with students reading and thinking because their reflection skills have suffered from the twitch-speed world in which they live. Technology has created less and less time for reflection and critical thinking in learning, a development that is quite concerning. Furthermore, Because of some of the tools of technology, the spelling and writing skills of many students are below grade level. Some students have rarely used a dictionary, but they have so much knowledge about the computer, and use spell check to correct mistakes when writing. Hand a kid a cell phone, and they can text message all day long. Give them a calculator and they can figure out any problem, but hand them a pencil and paper and they go blank. It seems that this is the reason that so many students are unable to do things manually. The long-term effects are frightening, and a report in 2010 stated that about 47 % of heavy media users usually get fair or poor grades, compared to about 23 % of light users. Technology presents many obstacles to the classroom, but perhaps the greatest is the amount of legal and privacy issues that come with.

The increase in the use of technology is followed by an array of legal issues that present definite problems in today’s schools. Cyber-or online bullying presents many issues that schools must currently face. There is an unclear line in the schools role in this issue, and many times when they school does take action and expel students for their role in cyber-bullying, they end up losing in the courtroom because of a violation of the student’s right to freedom of speech. Although the schools seem to have there hands tied in this situation, it shows the extremity of the problems that the internet can create in the classroom. Internet bullying is only the beginning of the wide array of ethical, privacy, and legal issues that are created by the use of technology. Dr. Frank J. Ryibicki of Valdosta State University was arrested earlier this year for allegedly closing a laptop computer on the hands of a student and faced battery charges. This student was supposedly said to have been asked many times throughout the semester to close her computer and was a distraction to other students. Though Dr. Ryibicki should not have closed the computer on this student’s hand, this event would have never occurred had she been engaged in the lecture and not on her computer. The blurred privacy and legal issues that accompany technology currently make it difficult to effectively protect both our students and schools, and a classroom free of technology is more conducive to a healthy learning environment.

Isn’t the goal in education to provide a comfortable learning environment in which students are free of distractions and able to work to their fullest potential? Technology in the classroom, though beneficial in some aspects, has begun to have a negative effect on the classroom setting. And would prove more beneficial to students if absent in their lives. We are at a point in our nation where people feel inclined to point fingers and search for discrepancies within our educational system. Yes , assessment and changes should consistently be made in any organization to improve its overall effectiveness, but technology is not the end all cure all solution in the field of education. Technological innovation is simply a current trend and buying into it too much seems to discredit and trash what has previously worked in traditional education. Because of the distractions it creates for both students and teachers, the short and long term effects that it has produced in students, and the comprehensive array of ethical, privacy, and legal issues, at this time, Technology is toxic to student success in the classroom. Thank You