Op-Ed: Why Schools must Revert Back to Paper and Pencil


Photo courtesy of Ainsley Samatas.

Laying on an IPad, a notebook and pen wonder if they will soon become unnecessary or they will prevail in the battle between the two types of learning. It is a mystery, hence the question mark.

Students nowadays grow up with technology from the day they were born. Integrating technology in school in a big capacity, like using iPads everyday for almost every class, brings problems.

Students do not get the personal connection to the teachers and curriculum they once had, and it is proven that technology is shortening the new generations’ attention span.

The technology being used in schools does not contribute enough to the success of the students and actually hinders their learning by becoming a distraction.

When games are given to kids, they are expected to play with them, which is exactly what happens with IPads. Students nowadays focus more on playing games in the back of the class than paying attention to the teacher’s lesson, or the work they’re supposed to be doing.

Some might argue that learning how to properly use technology is a good thing going into a world where technology is almost mandatory. However, according to The Guardian kids these days already know more about how to use an iPad or a computer than most adults do.

It is too late for the older teachers to have to catch up to their students and their technological knowledge. According to necs.ed.gov, the average age of the teacher in Colorado is 41 years old. Going along with other studies, these teachers are getting to an age where they know less about how to use technology than the students they teach.

Technology nowadays is utilized in almost every industry, but by children and teens, a majority of it is used in the gaming area. There is no need for gaming in school, and giving teens a chance to play games in school rather than focus on work is a bad idea.

“I didn’t get a Master’s in Education to go around and monitor students’ use [of IPads],” said Justelle Grandsaert, teacher at Silver Creek High School. “It feels like a waste.”

Grandsaert has been teaching for twenty three years, and has just recently made the transition to a more technology-based style of teaching. This was brought preemptively upon her and many other teachers because of the COVID-19 Pandemic and the online learning that took place.

Having to go online for at least a year and use solely technology to try and teach, teachers were thrown into the deep-end but weren’t taught how to swim.

“My skill set is not technology so I had to adapt,” said Grandsaert.

For younger teachers, the jump was not so difficult and some actually thought it was helpful. Moving to a more technology based learning system does provide some advantages.

“It has made a lot of teaching easier, and just makes a lot more knowledge available,” said Dylan Bauer, student-teacher at SCHS.

Bauer has only been teaching for a few semesters but enjoys his experiences with technology in the classroom. He too agrees that the one downside that may make technology not worthwhile is the games.

“Getting students to just not play games on their IPads is quite difficult,” Bauer said.

Students even concede that the only reason they like IPads is for the games. The extra ‘more knowledge available’ that Bauer talks about is looked past by students. They don’t look at an IPad as a resource, they look at it as a form of entertainment.

“I like them for the games and distractions… but would I say they help with learning, no.” Jack Boyt, student at Silver Creek High School, said.

Twin Peaks Classical Academy (TPCA) has fully embraced the ‘Classical’ aspect their name entails. They don’t use iPads unlike every other middle school and high school in Saint Vrain Valley School District (SVVSD).

Students that come out of TPCA are at least on track, if not more educated than other students in the district. According to USNews, it places fourth in the district as a school taking into account college readiness, test scores, and graduation rate.

There is a place for IPads and technology in school, but it is not at the forefront of learning. Its place is to exemplify the lesson plans and teaching of teachers and not to overshadow them.

The best thing to do to increase student engagement and learning is to not fully take out technology but put it on the back burner of learning. This goes for everyone inside the school, not just students.Teachers nowadays use technology in almost every facet of their class and lesson plans.

With COVID-19 bringing the use of tech to the forefront of learning prematurely, it’s hard to reverse the giant steps most schools have already taken to modernize, but if schools start the reversal process students should be able to learn more instead of just staring at a screen for seven hours everyday for the first quarter of their life.