How Modern Teaching Aids Have Benefits And Drawbacks

This article is a discussion on the ness and disadvantages of modern technological teaching tools in the classroom. You will get information about the various types of popular learning & teaching tools which are used in today's classrooms.

Slate and chalksFor most of us, our first visual and sensual contact with a learning tool begins at an age when we did not say a word, leave aside knowing an alphabet. At that impressionable age, we twisted a crayon or a pencil between tiny fingers, not quite being able to grasp it, but succeeding in tentatively touching it with our tongue. We thus literally got our first taste of a learning tool! We made wild doodles with chalks, crayons, coloured pens, etc on just about any surface (when nobody was looking naturally!). This progressed to learning how to hold a pencil & trying to draw a line or a circle & later to actually writing our ABCs.

The older generation still fondly remembers their first black rectangular slates & sticks of white chalk they took to school. These are used even today in India's rural areas and municipal schools & are often a child's first learning tools.

From a teacher's point of view, the slate is a teaching aid, as the larger version of it – the blackboard – is used to show the children how to write the alphabets and copy it on the slate in the exact same manner.

Starting with the blackboard, let's have a look at the different types of teaching tools used in the classroom, ranging from the traditional blackboard to e-learning packages.

Top 6 popular modern effective teaching aids in India

A blackboard

As implied by the name, it is a board which is black in colour. Blackboards come in a variety of sizes and shapes, not just in the traditional square or rectangular shape but also shaped like an apple or a flower. Then there are blackboards which are not just fixed to a classroom wall, but could be the type set up on an easel. There are even the portable, rolled-up types which you unroll and hang by a string on a convenient hook. Besides the inevitable chalks needed in various colours, a blackboard's constant companion is a duster. This could be one with a wood base or a simple cloth.

A whiteboard

In many classrooms, the blackboard and chalk has been replaced by a white board and thick-tipped pen. The whiteboard enables a teacher to create a lesson plan & teach it in a way that is easy for students to understand.

A PC tablet

This is a good interactive teaching aid as it is a touch-screen device which is easy to use. A device like an Apple iPad or a Samsung Galaxy tab can be used for educational apps, such as multiple-choice questions, science quizzes, puzzles, a textbook chapter's summary, etc. Even diagrams are easy to learn on such a gadget.

Touch screen board with electronic pen

This is an interactive board on which the student uses an electronic pen to answer a question & gets a quick feedback about whether it is right or wrong. It makes the student understand a mathematical problem faster.

Slideshows & Power Point presentations

These teaching aids are effective in graphically explaining a subject & also encourage a student to do a lot of research for presenting a project. Audio-visual equipment which involves projectors is effectively used to present diagrams, animated images, graphs, etc.
Portable white screen
Portable white screen
A simple portable white screen can be set up just about anywhere indoors or outdoors (weather permitting!) to impart educational lessons.

E-learning packages

A few schools utilize pre-pared e-learning packages for subjects such as history, maths and science. There are even pre-programmed audio-visual packages for music & sport!


Let's not forget some useful accessories: The teaching aids used for children first learning their numbers, alphabets, names of animals & birds, etc. span a wide variety: beads, flash cards, cardboard-cut outs, toys, even matchsticks and shells.

At the higher classes, globes, prisms, magnets, stop watches, compasses, laboratory equipment & various sundry devices can be effectively used to convey information on a subject.

A majority of modern teaching aids are technology-based as can be seen in the list above.
Let's now discuss the benefits & drawbacks of such teaching aids

Benefits of modern teaching aids

Keeping in mind a child's exposure to video games, iPads and smart phones, it is not surprising that as a student the child takes to technological teaching tools like the proverbial duck to water.

Teaching & learning are both made more enjoyable through modern teaching aids of the technological kind. Children do tend to be more attentive as the audio or visual or audio-visual aids makes them engrossed in what is being taught.

Devices like touch-screen gadgets makes learning more accessible and helps a child to understand a subject as complex as a Shakespearean play easy to understand thanks to the summaries of such subjects provided by the device's apps.

Teaching aids like animated slide shows saves time for subjects like botany and biology. For example, instead of the teacher constantly drawing a diagram of a flower to explain the parts of the flower or of the brain to explain its various features, time is saved by showing a slide show and simply explaining.

Drawbacks of modern teaching aids

It does seem increasingly clear that many companies which manufacture modern teaching aids are pulling out all the stops towards marketing their products aggressively. It is true that a student is no longer a mere passive learner. They are eager to learn with more involvement. However, are such technological devices really necessary? Some schools get carried away by the hype & herd mentality of "Other schools are using them; so should we".

Here's why modern teaching aid can be ineffective:
  • The modern technological teaching aids which are used in the classroom today are a barrier to student-teacher interactions. Learning, like these aids, is not automated. Quite often, clarity can be lost & essential details overlooked while explaining a topic with a technological teaching aid.

  • The biggest drawback to the use of modern teaching aids is the investment costs. These costs can be really huge as it is not a question of simply setting up the equipment on a one-time basis. Any technological equipment needs to be maintained. Quite often, the budget for such teaching aids can overshoot the mark. This has repercussions, with school fees being hiked to astronomical proportions. Moreover, in the case of using software teaching aids, the software needs to be constantly upgraded.

  • Then there is the factor of learning how to use the teaching aids properly & effectively. Not all teachers can grasp technology very quickly so this involves a need to train them first. Both the hardware & software industry is developing at a furious pace. In the blink of an eye, software can become redundant as a new one takes over or some hardware's feature can become more sophisticated. Hence the need to also constantly train teachers to understand new developments of teaching aids.

  • One also tends to forget that teaching aids used generally may be ineffective for children with special learning needs. It is important to have unique teaching aids for autistic children, those who are slow learners, those with visual disabilities and the like. Such children often get left out of the enjoyable process of learning because they may not be able to quickly grasp what is being taught through fancy gadgets & devices.

  • Finally, for schools which download & use direct Internet teaching software there is the constant threat of what affects anything in e-space: viruses & hackers. Also, when giving access to the Internet to school children to encourage them to do research, it is essential to teach them cyber security & monitor the sites they visit.

  • Conclusion

    Whether a slide show or a touch screen device, a teaching aid must be a complementary tool to teaching and not a replacement of it. What's more, no two students are alike. Each student has his/her own learning abilities & a teacher's personal touch goes a long way in making a student comfortable in the learning process.

    The bottom line: Teaching should never be a slave to technology.

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    Guest Author: Abdullahi Ishiaku S.06 Dec 2018

    This article on modern teaching aids is very interesting and a bank of knowledge with simple and plain words used.

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