Technology and Deviant Teacher-Student Interactions

Technology and Deviant Teacher-Student Interactions

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-2779-4.ch004
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The marriage of technology and education is complex and laced with features that are both desired and despised. Technology used in and out of the classroom is a useful apparatus for facilitating learning, enhancing teacher-student immediacy, and recruiting and retaining students. However, technology can also adversely affect the educational experience through compulsive smartphone use, reduced work ethics and subsequent grades, deindividuation, flaming, miscommunications, expectations of immediate and constant access, indecorous messages and posts, and a legion of classroom distractions. Housed in a clear recognition of technology's educational advantages, this chapter unveils the pedagogical deviance that can emerge from a technologically saturated classroom environment.
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Once upon a time, teaching tools consisted of chalk or dry erase markers and boards, transparencies, or even film clips projected via analog video cassette players. It was also quite possible for the learning environment to simply consist of the teacher lecturing to students without the assistance of the aforementioned items. Writing on the board, transparencies, analog videos, and even one-way communication from teacher to students are considered archaic teaching methodologies in today’s modern classroom. Across the U.S., laptops or tablets are replacing pens, pencils, and paper as required or preferred school supplies. Most current students can barely reminder life sans technology. The majority, if not all, of their lives has been saturated with smart phones, digital television, the Internet, email, and social media. Recent 2015 data from the Pew Research Center (Smith, 2015) indicated startling statistics regarding our use of technology, especially smartphones in the U.S.:

  • Nearly two-thirds of all Americans own a smartphone, which includes 85% of young adults ages 18-29 and 64% of adults (a 35% increase since 2011);

  • 97% of smartphone owners text, at least occasionally. Other features popular with smartphone users include Internet use, voice/video calls, email, social media, streaming videos, and listening to music;

  • Nearly 80% of smartphone owners report that having a smartphone makes them feel productive and happy;

  • 46% of smartphone owners say their phone is something they “couldn’t live without”.

Given the abovementioned data, there is no wonder that 80% of smartphone owners describe their phone as worth the cost, with many paying more than $200 a month, yet still they either frequently (i.e., 30%) or at least occasionally (i.e., 51%) reach the maximum amount of data allowed in their cell phone plan (Smith, 2015).

Data regarding the preponderance of cell phone use suggest that we are an intensely technologically dependent society. Students report exceptionally high attachments to their phones with some students even admitting to using their phones in a plethora of inappropriate settings, including showering, having sex, and engaging in face-to-face conversations with others (Harrison & Gilmore, 2012). Given these findings, it is clear that technology “use” can easily become “misuse”. The misuse of technology has led to the coining of pathological Internet use, which is defined based on Internet use that causes disturbances in users’ lives, such as altered states of consciousness, failure to fulfill major role obligations, and cravings (Morahan-Martin & Schumacher, 2000). Though pathological Internet use seems extreme, its effects are essentially encouraged given that technology is infiltrating virtually every aspect of our lives, and the classroom is no exception. In fact, research suggests that technology is an ever-growing phenomenon in the classroom that cannot be dismissed as a passing fad (Rosen, Lim, Carrier, & Cheever, 2011), but a mix of rewards and challenges exists with using technology in the classroom. Thus, this chapter recognizes the benefits of technology in education, while thoroughly explicating how it can also adversely affect the learning process and teacher-student interactions.

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