Get Started Today!
Search
Close this search box.

Using Technology Doesn’t Mean Better Learning

Should students use technology when learning? GradePower Learning is often asked why our students don’t use tablets or computers to complete their workbooks in class. With the rise of technology such as AI, this question is more than valid. After all, today’s students are digital natives, fluent in all things tech.

Technology has made many exciting advances in learning that can simplify students’ learning experience and make it more interactive and engaging. AI, ChatGPT, learning apps, and voice-to-text notetakers are just some of the tools readily available to students of all ages.

But does using technology mean a better learning experience?

Many believe that technology is the education tool of the future, simplifying how students access, collaborate with other students and even process and retrieve information. Undoubtedly, knowing how to use technology properly is a vital tool for students of all ages.

However, research shows that using technology to learn can be more of a hindrance than a help, especially when building basic learning skills.

Offline Learning Vs Online Technology Learning

When it comes to building basic learning skills in the Rs, what impact does tech have?

READING

When reading for school, is it better to read from screens vs reading from paper? What we know is that the brain processes digital reading differently than it does when reading from paper. Online screens are never still. There are always links present, waiting to distract and bring our attention elsewhere.

Studies looked at the connection between how the eyes and brain process information when reading from a screen vs reading off paper. The research showed that reading and writing on paper helps students encode information more effectively and thus store it or retrieve it from their memories more effectively. 

Reading online leads to shallower processing and less memory retention, whereas reading on paper leads to deep reading. On paper, the text itself provides a “landscape” as we read that helps the memory centre become more active. Paper reading activates multiple senses, including touch and sound, activating more brain areas. Information is processed more effectively when students use multiple senses simultaneously.  Whereas online reading can lead to shallow reading that isn’t encoded as effectively.

WRITING

Much like reading from paper, writing by hand activates more areas of the brain than typing on a keyboard. When we write by hand, we have to think about the formation of each letter and the words we are writing, which requires more mental effort than typing. Research suggests that handwriting can help with memory retention and creativity.

Writing notes in class involves several processes:

  • Listening to what’s being said.
  • Deciding what to write down and emphasize.
  • Connecting that information to prior knowledge.

This is known as the “process function” of note-taking, meaning students have to process what they are writing. When students take notes with a laptop or a notetaking app, they get the “product function.” In other words, they get great notes they don’t have to think about.

According to the research, handwritten class notes are also better for capturing concepts and ideas.

ARITHMETIC

The goal of learning math is to develop an understanding of how numbers work and to be able to perform mental math without the help of a calculator. Relying on technology to solve formulas or practice key skills doesn’t help students build a true understanding of math principles and can even lead to math anxiety.

Building the basics of math requires numeracy—aka math literacy—often built with hands-on practice and learning exercises to build speed, accuracy, and mastery. A strong understanding of math’s basic concepts is needed before moving on. Technology simply cannot help students build that understanding.

Hands-On Math Learning
Math understanding requires deep thinking about numbers, noticing patterns in how numbers work together, and making connections. Manipulatives allow students to group, arrange, connect and integrate, and build a visual connection to theoretical math concepts. When young children use manipulatives, aka physical objects like blocks, to represent math facts, they engage with math concepts physically, using more senses and building a deeper understanding.

Other Tech Issues to Consider

Health & Well-Being

Whether it’s for learning or leisure, too much screen time for children can be linked to many challenges, such as interfering with sleep habits, decreasing attention, and even reducing memory. It can also affect student mental well-being

Increased screen time can also lead to brain changes in young children: higher screen use negatively affects up to 56% of the brain areas dealing with language, literacy, imagination, and executive function, such as self-regulation. source

Traditional Learning with GradePower Learning

There are many benefits to technology in learning, such as accessing information, collaboration, and engagement. Online learning tools are always available and accessible and meet students’ needs at the surface level. Today’s children are digital natives, which means that computers have always been part of their daily lives, and screen time is part of both their education and recreation; it’s natural to think that learning that doesn’t use technology seems old-fashioned. However, the opposite is true.

The more technology is used in learning, the more that in-person, one-on-one connection-based instruction model stands out as both important and necessary.

GradePower Learning classes are focused on delivering a personalized learning experience, building connections with students, and helping them understand that they are capable of achieving their goals. Classes end with high fives and smiles, and that is something that no app, tech, or AI will ever be able to deliver.

Recent Posts

Related Reading Resources

Find a GradePower Learning Location Near You!

20 American Locations and Growing!