Online Class: Is It Meaningful for Young Learners?
Millennials. If you’ve heard the word “millennials,” you might automatically think about children nowadays. They are marked by this term because most children nowadays are very familiar with technology. Technology surrounds them everywhere and everytime. It is in their houses, schools, and in society in general. You will likely pass more children with gadgets in their hands rather than books when you walk around in the city. Sometimes, you even see them to be engrossed by their gadgets that they don’t pay attention to their surroundings. A study by Junco and Mastrodicasa (2007) revealed that students born between 1983-1992 used technology at higher rates than people from older generations. In their survey, they found that 97% of these students owned a computer, 94% owned a mobile phone, and 56% owned an MP3 player. Findings by Berk (2009) also revealed that 76% of students used instant messaging, 92% of those reported multitasking while instant messaging, 40% of them used television to get most of their news, and 34% of students surveyed used the Internet as their primary news source. This says a lot about how close children are with technology.
Seeing how close children are nowadays to technology evokes different reactions from the adults, especially parents. Some of you might think it is a bad thing, some of you might think it is not a problem. When we talk about technology and children, we will think about the advantages and disadvantages first. Is it good for our children? Does it give bad impacts for students’ achievement in learning and their behaviour? What are some similar concerns regarding technology and its effect on children? However, no matter how worried we are, we cannot completely isolate the children from technology. It has been part of our lives for years and we have to admit that it helps us everyday. Moreover, we might be left behind if we avoid technology completely. Therefore, we have to be wise about the use of technology, especially when it is involving the children.
As we know, technology also brings us advantages; not only at livi
ng environments, but also at school. For years, a lot of schools around the world have been integrating their teaching and learning activities with technology. It helps teachers and students find additional information that may be very limited in books. It helps us know the recent issues in the world that we can relate with certain lesson. It also helps us to encourage students to have an open mind since technology allows us to know about people and things that are far away and very different from us. All these benefits will come up if we use technology properly and for good intentions. Thus, the impact will depend on how we utilize the technology around us.
As mentioned before, a lot of schools make use of technology for teaching and learning activities. Our school is one of the examples. Computers is not only a subject that students have to take, but it is also a means of teaching that is utilized for other lessons. This academic year, we have been implementing an online classroom for our students. We have been using two web services to conduct online classroom which are ClassDojo and Google Classroom. Based on the students’ and teachers’ experience in using ClassDojo, it is a simple website that has its own application so that it is easily accessed by smartphone. Students can submit their tasks and post photos, articles, comments, etc.... It provides rewards points for the students which are concerned with students’ behavior. We also use Google Classroom which allows us to share documents, do a few kinds of online tests or assessments, and provide students with access to and as well as join discussions.
The two web services, ClassDojo and Google Classroom, have helped us in conducting teaching-learning activities. Students get excited when we do the lesson with ClassDojo. The rewards points was one of the factors that encouraged them to do their task and behave during the lessons. They also can keep their portfolio there and share their work during lessons with the help of an LCD projector. With Google Classroom, students can share their work on the stream and it can be seen by their classmates’ account. It encourages students to do discussion in the comment section and facilitate them to do group work even though they are at home.
Online class is not only convenient and practical, it also helps students to be more resourceful. When they are doing their tasks, they can get more information from the internet. Sometimes, the information in the books are limited. Therefore, they can get more information about the topic that they learn.
Using online classroom has been proven to have positive impacts on the students. However, the frequency of conducting online classroom must be taken into consideration as it will impact students’ health if they stay in front of a computer or smartphone too long. When students are doing online classroom, teachers and parents must monitor them to make sure they are doing their tasks thoroughly and do not open other things that are not related to their learning and might distract them. Thus, online classroom will be very effective and meaningful for the students.
Junco, Reynol; Mastrodicasa, Jeanna (2007). Connecting to the Net.Generation: What Higher Education Professionals Need to Know About Today's Students. National Association of Student Personnel Administrators. ISBN 978-0-931654-48-0. Retrieved 4 April 2019.
Berk, Ronald A. (2009). "How Do You Leverage the Latest Technologies, including Web 2.0 Tools, in Your Classroom?" (PDF). International Journal of Technology in Teaching and Learning. 6 (1): 4. Retrieved 4 April 2019.