January 23, 2024

Benefits and Challenges of Technology in the Classroom

GoGuardian Team
Two students look excitedly at laptops

As any teacher instructing today knows, there are numerous benefits and challenges of technology in the classroom. Thankfully, with GoGuardian Admin, administrators are equipped with the ability to establish school/network-wide web policies that restrict access to inappropriate content through comprehensive web filtering that goes beyond blocking URLs. Admin’s innovative programming includes keyword filtering, school and home modes that allow administrators to set protocols that block specific processes during school hours, and smart alerts that notify teachers and administrators when students attempt to access restricted content.

In GoGuardian Teacher, you will find functions, such as:

  • Screen viewer and tab control that allow teachers to see what students are working on in real time and close tabs that are unnecessary and distracting from lessons
  • The ability to lock student devices
  • A chat feature that provides a direct line of communication between teachers and students for students to discreetly ask questions and teachers to guide distracted learners back on-task.

These programs and features work together to minimize the stress of virtual classroom management and maximize learning — creating enriched learning experiences through increased support for both students and teachers.

Benefits of technology in the classroom

Educators might be wondering why it’s important to integrate technology in the classroom. The benefits stretch far and wide for both teachers and students. Integrating computer technology into the classroom can serve as a means for teachers to support and enhance learning, create opportunities to connect with students, and encourage learners to connect with information in new and exciting ways. With supportive guidance, clearly defined objectives, and attentive instruction on how to use technology effectively and responsibly, students are equipped with new skills as digital learners that have been linked to both improved academic performance and increased personal and career success.

Increased student engagement

Students are already enamored with technology for personal and entertainment use. Social media sites and apps like Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok have never been more popular, and MineCraft and Fortnite are engrossed in a weekly battle for the spot as the #1 game globally among children and teens. Students connect with experiences that are fun for them, and there’s no reason why learning can’t and shouldn’t be fun. By researching pop culture trends and current events that catch the interest of students, teachers can incorporate them into lessons to make them more relatable and enjoyable. Additionally, teachers can use music, video, podcasts, and other media to build creative, interactive lessons.

Encouraging teamwork and collaboration

The ability to collaborate as part of a pair, group, or team is a valuable life skill for students to learn. Having them take notes together through Google Docs, complete Webquests, or build a classroom wiki page together are just some of the many ways technology can be used to help students learn and improve this skill. Introduce gamified learning activities either through edtech software or DIY lessons that require students to work with one another to do research and complete learning objectives to make learning an exciting, challenging, and supportive experience for everyone.

Preparing students for life after graduation

The ability to use technology effectively is an increasingly vital skill, not only in K-12 education, but in the lives of students after graduation. College courses are more frequently being offered online or as a hybrid between classroom meetings and online lessons. Even courses taking place in traditional classrooms are starting to utilize more e-learning software (such as McGraw-Hill Connect and Pearson). Students who are able to navigate technology for e-learning and research purposes are better prepared for these college learning environments and careers that will require an understanding of Microsoft Office products, typing skills, the ability to communicate by email, managing digital calendars, and more from prospective candidates.

Connecting students and teachers

Introducing technology into your classroom will provide new ways to strengthen peer-to-peer and student-teacher relationships, as well as foster a supportive learning environment for students. Use classroom emails to connect students with one another for tutoring/homework help and mentorship and give them a means to contact you for assistance with lessons/homework and feedback. Create surveys through Google Forms to allow feedback from students on lessons and review your teaching strategies. Utilize GoGuardian Teacher’s Chat function to give real-time support and guidance to students who are off task or who seem to be struggling with a lesson.

Improved teaching outcomes

Educational technology can be used to design lessons that allow for more thorough absorption of knowledge and improved learning outcomes. Engage students in Webquests and other inquiry-based learning that empowers students to research independently, construct questions, find answers and problem-solve to gain an understanding of a subject or concept. Use the Screen View function of GoGuardian Teacher to ensure students remain on task and have students send a message through the chat function at the end of class explaining what they learned today to ensure they are comprehending and retaining lessons.

Supporting differentiated instruction

The Scenes function in GoGuardian Teacher is incredibly useful in supporting differentiated instruction. Teachers can use Scenes to design a template of websites and pages students are granted access to during a given lesson. This can be useful for test taking, in that you can guarantee students remain on task and prevent cheating by only allowing access to the testing page. However, it can also be useful in allowing students to work on a lesson at their own pace and in their own way, by providing them with an assortment of pre-selected articles, websites, videos, and activities to utilize to complete an assignment.

Challenges of integrating technology in the classroom

While technology is being utilized more frequently in K-12 education, many teachers are still struggling with integrating it in their classrooms and questioning if doing so is the right move for them. There are a number of factors we must each consider (cost, ease of use, and ongoing support for proper understanding and usage) that will impact decisions of how, when, and if we should introduce new technology.

GoGuardian Admin and Teacher provide versatile solutions for these issues with technology in the classroom, keeping students focused, challenged, and safe while eliminating the need for teachers to stand over students as they work and allowing you to focus instead on what matters most...teaching!

Students misusing technology

With the introduction of technology in your classroom, you are sure to encounter students attempting to misuse it, largely for entertainment purposes instead of educational ones. GoGuardian Admin is designed with some of the most intuitive and comprehensive tools to protect against students misusing their devices, including the ability to block VPNs and students attempting to access incognito browser modes via USB, both of which are popular ways in which students attempt to bypass web filters to access gaming sites or social media, search for inappropriate content, or use their devices at inappropriate times. Additionally, with GoGuardian Teacher, educators are able to lock student devices at times they aren’t needed to avoid learners using them during videos, presentations, or when guest speakers are visiting.

Teacher knowledge and professional development

Another common struggle of teachers attempting to integrate technology into their classrooms is a lack of knowledge and understanding of how to use technology, or discomfort with using it. Teachers who have these concerns also struggle with being provided with professional development resources to help them gain the knowledge and familiarity to introduce technology reliably and effectively. GoGuardian Teacher comes with thorough training on how educators can best use the program to support digital learning in their classrooms. Teachers can connect with members of the GoGuardian team for ongoing support and assistance, as well as access a large selection of teacher resources containing ideas on how to integrate technology into the classroom and how to get the most from GoGuardian Teacher.

Keeping students safe online

The increasing popularity of education technology in schools is also leading to increased concern regarding how to keep students safe while using it. Increased access to technology can leave students vulnerable to graphic content (including violent media and pornography), online predators, scammers and hackers, and cyberbullying. Features of GoGuardian Admin and Teacher, like keyword blocking and smart alerts, have been shown to be very effective in mitigating these risks and helping teach students to be responsible digital citizens.

Cost of new technology

Another problem with technology in the classroom is the cost. Not all classroom budgets are able to sustain this addition. Fortunately, many strategies for incorporating technology into your curriculum can be implemented without breaking the bank. Some impactful ways to integrate technology at no additional cost to you include:

  • Creating a classroom blog through a free wiki site
  • Providing students with a selection of technology-based projects to showcase learning (a podcast, essay, video, slide show, etc.)
  • Designing an online classroom calendar with due dates, testing dates, and events that students can sync to their phones/school devices to remain aware of important dates
  • Bundling services together through one vendor and platform to save money

Keeping up with changes

Technology is a constantly evolving industry, and edtech can quickly become obsolete as new technology is introduced. A major barrier many teachers struggle with when introducing technology into their classrooms is keeping up with these many changes and trends. The team at GoGuardian is dedicated to staying on top of these trends and improving products with the most up-to-date solutions for schools, as they understand the importance of integrating technology in the classroom.

This blog was originally posted on November 5, 2019 and last updated January 23, 2024.