Technology has drastically changed how life works ever since it was introduced. As the years progressed, technology has made things easier to do.
Walk inside an MRT train and imagine what you’d typically see – more than 70% of passengers have their eyes glued to the screen!
In 2020, technology is being used everywhere (for better or for worse, but mostly for the better). These days, tutors are even starting to use technology in their classrooms!
However, technology does have its downsides because it can be distracting and affect students from learning key academic skills they can’t learn if rely on technology.
If you are uncertain what cons they are, here are the 6 common mistakes Singapore tutors tend to make when teaching with technology:
Choosing the technology you like
When facing a task or activity, many people tend to lean towards the things that they are familiar with to tackle it. This enables you to do what is at hand even if it’s not technically fit for the task at hand.
It is not wrong to lean towards the technology you have mastered when teaching your students. It is actually good to use the technology you know because you know exactly how to share ideas through it.
However, if one relies on it too much, you may end up missing key ideas you can’t easily interpret using the technology you can use. Some students may also find it hard to interpret what you are trying to teach them because they are not used to learning through technology.
Initially, I rely heavily on my laptop to introduce new concepts to my students. When I found out that most of my students are using iPad instead, I had to make the switch immediately. There are so much more interactive teaching apps on the iPad than my laptop can provide.
With this in mind, you will need to look into other ways you can cover these ideas and ensure your students understand it.
Determining how and when and where your students can use technology
As a tutor, you have control as to how, when and where your students can use technology when they do their lessons with you.
Technology does allow students to get information easily; but, it does open doors to material that is not safe to use. You will also need to know the student’s readiness to use such technology, their grade level, what technology is safe for them to use, and the policies surrounding technology for education.
Before your session, you can talk to your student about the grounds on when, how and where they can use technology. You can list down which sites they can use for their studies and when they can use these technologies during your tuition session.
You should also not let them use technology as and when they want to because it will disable them from learning.
I have come across students who would prefer to google for answers rather than to tap into their creative minds. They won’t appreciate learning at all since they will think “why bother studying when you can get any information you need through technology.”
Believe that technology is distracting
Here’s to our next point, while it is true that technology can help with education. However, it can also be a distraction if you are trying to teach key skills or concepts.
As a result, you may end up being unable to reach your learning objectives with your students. It will also distract your students from achieving their study goals.
Check your lessons for the day and see if you do need technology to make it convincing. There are other ways to get your student’s attention to the lesson, you just have to find it.
I use the 80/20 rule in my lessons. 80% of the time I conduct the lesson through textbooks, quizzes and experiments while 20%, I will use technology to make the lesson interesting.
Convince that technology isn’t necessary
Sometimes, too much of something is not good.
In this case, you may think technology is the way to go in teaching a lesson. It keeps students motivated, your lessons can be summarized in a video and it can catch your student’s attention. However, you don’t actually need to use it to teach a topic or keep them motivated.
You need to convince yourself that technology is not always applicable to certain topics.
For example, you don’t have to use YouTube to teach essay writing. You can teach essay writing by letting your student read books or even get them to write about what they are thinking about.
Know which subjects or topics don’t require too much technology use and find the ways you can teach them without using technology. If your student still can’t get your lesson, then you can use technology to simplify things or help them recap.
Students have too much access
If you have established learning objectives for your lesson, ask yourself if they will need technology to reach them.
Sometimes, you only need a few materials and tasks to tick them down.
If you allow them to always use technology, your students would find everything too easy and they won’t learn what you want them to learn at the end of each session. There are instances where I will enrol the help of the student’s parents to restrict their access to their tablet or mobile phones and not bring them to my lessons with them.
Brainstorm with your student and see how you can reach your learning objectives without using too much technology.
Making use of cloud-based services
If you will be using technology to teach students, it is an error if you do not use cloud-based services to open resources for them to use.
You may also use cloud-based services to control how much technology (or apps) they can use during your lessons and disconnect their access to other apps or websites while you have your classes.
Some cloud-based services may even allow you to share your lesson plan with your student so they know what to expect in your next meeting. I love using Google Shared Drive to send new assignments to my students especially if they are on a break during the school holidays.
Technology was created to make things easy for man to do things. However, there are times that it will not be beneficial to its users. When educating your students, always remember that using technology must be balanced out.
While technology will make your lessons easier, there are just some things it cannot teach your students. Technology may also affect how much your student will learn and reduce their interest in learning even more outside your lessons.
Take a look at their lessons, how well they take them in, will they need technology to learn topics and if it is necessary to use technology at all. If technology isn’t required, don’t force yourself to use it. Technology is a good tool to help your students, but you can also use other tools to emphasize your lessons better.
For innovative ideas to teach better, check out these ideas: