For some reason, computers and other devices have become the new targets when students exhibit bad behavior in the classroom. Some are so quick to blame the technology when we are seeing the same behaviors we have seen in the past. When a student posts a inappropriate or hurtful message online, some are quick to take away the device or ban the site where it happened. We used to see this same behavior when students only had pencils and paper, but were still writing inappropriate or hurtful messages. We did not take away the paper or the pencil, instead we addressed the behavior.
Why are so many so quick to attack the technology instead of addressing the behavior? Technology can not make you do anything, unless it is named Ultron or Skynet. We have to remember that people are responsible for their own actions, students included, and that the technology should not be made the victim. Technology can be a powerful tool in learning but we have to teach students how to use it first, we can’t assume they already know how and we also can’t overreact when they use it incorrectly. Students have been using pencils incorrectly for a very long time and yet we don’t ban them.
(And if you want to blame technology for distracting students, then you better blame the pencil for distracting them also – doodling, writing notes, waving it up and down rapidly to make it look like it is made of rubber, …)