Cyber Students: For Better or Worse?

April 6, 2010 | NeW Staff

We all use it. But do we abuse it?  Technology has changed the way students learn, interact with professors, and communicate with their peers.  Is it for good?

NeW’s North Carolina Chair Jessica Custer tackled this issue in a recent article for National Association of Scholars (NAS).  As current or past students in this technology-driven age, we can all relate.  Jessica addresses six questions of technology raises in the classroom.  Here is one example:

While students may be able to search the internet for quick answers, what they find is black and white information with a limited scope. Students can search for a fact and get just that: a fact. When students turn to the internet and not their professor, they limit their education to words on a page instead of actual knowledge gained from information and interaction.

We can all relate. “Googling” it just seems faster and easier.  Is it for our good in the end though?  What do we lose by the ease at which we can search for and attain information?  However, all is not lost according to Jessica.  We can actually use technology for good.  How so?

Technology connects students to the world beyond the classroom—connecting theory with application. With access to technology, students see the text of the page come to life with model simulations, relevant current events and interactive examples. Students can learn on their own, searching for information at the click of a mouse.

What do you think?  How do you see technology at play on your campuses and in your classrooms?  As Jessica points out, “technology is here to stay.”  Have you found ways to work with technology to increase your learning, your aptitude, your chance for success?  Or have you found yourself slipping into “click mode” to find answers?  How can we best utilize technology without allowing it to hinder our learning?

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