Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Is Technology Making Students Smarter?

            Technology, as most of us know by now, is advancing at a rapid pace.  This means technology is becoming cheaper, more efficient, and becoming more accessible to the average person.  Nearly every school nowadays seems to have some sort of modern technology ranging from computers to smartboards.  However, according to an article written by Rebecca Klein, technology can actually be hindering students rather than helping.
            One major point that Klein emphasizes is that a balanced use of computers is beneficial in today’s age.  In the OECD countries, the students who practiced moderate use of computers seemed to be at the top, followed by students who rarely used computers, followed by students who use computers frequently.  This point proves that computers can help a student learn, but oversaturation can actually cause them to do worse.  This is so dangerous because often we view technology as very important, which gives it the power to influence us.  Students may be drawn to schools with new technology because they can get a free laptop, when realistically this may actually cause them to do worse then students who rarely use computers at all.
            Another important point is that digital skills are becoming more and more necessary.  This means that students must have knowledge on how to use computers, but this can be difficult to achieve.  Students can't learn too much on computers or they seem to do worse, but they must also learn how to use computers to make it in the modern world.  Nearly every job nowadays is integrated with technology and more jobs are becoming available to those who know how to use technology.  Learning how to use digital programs is deceivingly difficult and expensive.  This expense forces more funding to go toward technology, which leads us to a major issue.
            The major dilemma that seems to arise from introduction of new technology is allocating resources wisely, so that new technology can be introduced, but teachers also have the necessary experience to use it productively.  This problem is especially apparent in disadvantaged countries, which are often granted computers from donations or some sort of government funding.  Just exposing students to new technology does not mean that they will know how to use it, and teachers will probably have very limited knowledge.  If a teacher cannot effectively use technology then students will have tough time learning and resources are wasted. 
            Overall, while I think the article was well written, the stats included were a little vague.  It often talks about students using computers for schoolwork but I was a little unsure of what exactly this meant.  A point that seemed to slip through the cracks was if teaching with technology, such as smartboards or slideshows helped.  These minor issues aside, I think that the major point to take away is that both teachers and technology are vital to education, but the proper balance must be achieved to unlock students full potential.


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  2. I think technology hinders learning and education. Nowadays, I notice that people aren't gathering information and remembering it, but "googling" the question, writing down the answer, and moving on. In a school-type setting, using computers is not a good idea. Even now, when professors allow their students to use their computer, students usually surf the Web or do homework in their other classes. Computers is a distraction in a school-related environment. It is as if professors are talking to themselves when a professor looks up and see 20 students on their laptops and not looking up. Likewise, taking notes on a computer is not better than taking notes by hand. Research has shown that "taking notes by hand is better than taking notes on a laptop for remembering conceptual information over the long term" (APS). If technology needs to be used, I believe it should be used in third-world countries, where technology is needed to level the field between first and third-world students. Most of this generation are technology natives because we grew up with technology, so I don't think using technology in class would hinder job applications in a technology-based world.

    "Take Notes by Hand for Better Long-Term Comprehension." Association for Psychological Science RSS. N.p., 24 Apr. 2015. Web. 15 Nov. 2015.

  3. I can't imagine a world where we have this vast encyclopedia of knowledge, and we aren't getting smarter. It's naive to think that just because you get an answer to a question from Yahoo Answers or Reddit, as opposed to a classroom or textbook, its somehow lower quality. The beauty of being able to Google things is that you if you ask a clear and concise question you will, almost every time, get a clear and concise answer. For me, I have learned a whole lot more in my life from googling things than from reading a textbook, while textbooks have only 2-4 authors usually, the internet has a wealth of experts, all with different views and opinions, which help convey a wholesome view of a subject instead of just the opinions and writing of a few. While I don’t recommend living on your computer, I can say that if used moderately, and used as a tool for learning, instead of a distraction then I can’t see a reason that technology and the internet isn’t making students smarter.


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