It used to be that when a student walked into a classroom, the teacher would talk to the students, walk them through the lesson, and assign homework to be written and turned in the next day.
The norm nowadays seems quite different: teachers have slideshows and videos ready to present; they expect students to check their websites for homework. They warn us that assignments need to be submitted to Turnitin.com by 11:59 p.m., and remind us that we should constantly check our Q Connect account to make sure everything has been graded.
I used to think that this policy of “let the technology do the teaching” degrades student investment in classes and conveys the foreboding idea that school is ever present. Also, I often see modern technology distract the students around me.
Recently, however, I have started to mark the many benefits of linking the technologic and educational world.
Technology opens up all sorts of unique opportunities in the field of teaching.
Is there any better way to inspire the scientists of the future than to play one of Carl Sagan’s monologues from Cosmos?
And what aspiring public speaker would not be inspired by watching John F. Kennedy deliver his speech in front of the Berlin Wall? Thanks to projectors, students can do just that, all from the comfort of their desks.
Convenience outside the classroom is another important factor in education, as students can use resources such as Hotmath.com to walk them through problems at home when the teacher is not around.
Furthermore, teachers can connect with students at home without being too invasive. Students have accurate, up to date information on what their grades look like at the touch of their fingertips.
I used to get home and realize that I had no idea what the homework was. Now, I can simply check the personalized websites of each of my teachers; at least, that’s the idea.
The problem here though is that some teachers don’t know how to use technology effectively. Many do not update their websites or embrace some of the in class benefits.
This teacher to teacher discrepancy can create confusion for students.
Also, Zangle has been known to crash when too many people access the site at once.
Days before school this year, many students were unable to view their schedules. This type of dysfunction is extremely inconvenient, especially considering the timing.
All these unfortunate aspects must be taken into account when considering the shift into an increasingly flat world.
And of course technology is no substitute for actual, in class, lessons from an instructor.
The solution may be to watch our step and not trip along the path to a better education.