Throughout my schooling, technology has played an increasingly important role. In grade school projectors made learning certain subjects easier through the visuals presented. It also caused interaction with the students and the material, in the sense that we would have to go up to the front and underline certain things on the projector slides. Once I moved on to high school, PowerPoints became the popular teaching medium, until my junior year when SmartBoards were introduced into our schooling system. On one hand I liked the new technology, it brought back the interactivity of a projector, but with more capabilities. There were times when the boards wouldn’t be “calibrated” correctly, or would freeze up. Those issues ate up a lot of valuable class time, when we could have just used the marker-board/chalkboard. My experience with technology in high school took away from actually learning the material. SmartBoards were just the digital form of a marker-board with more abilities, but that malfunctioned more than not. The technologies applied at college, on the other hand, overall have enhanced my learning experience. For instance, BlackBoard has aided in stretching my learning abilities outside the classroom. It allows the professors to lecture in class, and then not have to necessarily handout homework, but post them online. It eliminates the excuse of “I lost my homework”, because you can go online and print it out as many times as needed, if it has to be printed. It puts the responsibility on the students, instead of the teacher.
Massive Open Online Courses, support the advanced technology of today, in the sense of multitasking. Smartphones, tablets, and other devices have allowed people to connect with others and multitask, creating more time for other things. The online classes allow these same antics. People can multitask while watching the class and connect with others. I had a hybrid class at IU two semesters back. We had to go to class two times a week and watch an online lecture once a week. The online lecture provided a section where you could chat with not only the professor, but also the other students in that class section. This demonstrates connectivity through technology. Although these classes may provide positive outcomes, I personally believe they only reiterate the laziness of our society. Coming to class gets students out of bed and up for the day, whereas online classes allow students to stay in bed and watch the lecture. It also dehumanizes traditional education. Sure, you see the professor, but you don’t necessarily get to fully interact with them, unless you have to actually go to the classroom for an exam. I feel as though going to class and the fear of being called on, forces me to prepare for that class in advance. Online classrooms don’t necessarily enforce this fear, again creating the lazy approach. The article by Laura Pappano mentions this very topic on traditional education, and goes even further to say that online courses also eliminate the social experiences available on campuses. Since you are no longer interacting with the professor face to face, you are also no longer interacting with other students, making for a lonely college career. It completely destroys the “college experience”.
The same goes for e-books, in them supporting the technological capabilities of devices today. I, personally, have never purchased an e-book or an e-reader, so I’d have to read it on my computer. I prefer opening a physical book. When I’m assigned homework that involves reading articles or other online sources, such as this assignment, I print them out. I don’t enjoy reading off of my computer. I’d rather physically turn a page. There are two positives that I see with this technology. One, it’s less expensive and, two, you can carry all of your textbooks with you at one time without breaking your back. I thought an interesting point from USA Today’s article was the thought that people will start pirating e-books, just like they do with music. I’d never thought of that before. Students in the article, also mentioned how it was harder to study using e-books, due to lack of page numbers and identifiers such as sticky notes. Overall, in my opinion, the bad outweighs the good with e-books. I’d much rather physically hold a book, it proves much more interesting to me that way, than if I have to read it via electronic device.