We are a product of the time in which we live. That is part of the reason why we college students know how to use a computer while many of our grandparents are still confused by word processing. Lots of information is available to us at the click of a mouse. Yet what has all of this technological advancement done to us as students?
Without a doubt, today's college life revolves around the computer and the Internet. Laptops, e-mail, and Facebook are highly prevalent in almost every college student's life. Our society is all about the instantaneous: we need to know what's going on at all times.
The zeitgeist of our generation is such that we crave fast information and even faster communication. I, like many others, check my e-mail at least 10 times throughout the day and go on Facebook probably more than I should, but that's part of what being a college student today is all about.
Professors are jumping on the technological train as well. With the advent of new tools like myCourses and PowerPoint, classes are becoming increasingly technological and, in some sense, easier. The use of these mediums allows professors to more easily teach large lecture classes, inform students of upcoming assignments and even save paper by not having to print out handouts for the class. You can even buy chapters of textbooks online, which can only be read on your computer screen.
Overall, it would appear that technology allows for more organization and for more ease in the classroom. Yet, with the advent of increased technology in both our daily lives and in the classroom, is there a lack of physical person-to-person communication? Sure, the professor is physically teaching the class, but do students focus more on the professor or the slide presentation?
MyCourses and PowerPoint are great because they allow classes to run more smoothly, but we cannot use these tools to replace the actual class. I absolutely draw the line at buying chapters or even entire textbooks online. I need to have the physical text in front of me and be able to use my highlighter on important sections. You cannot replace methods like this.
Yes, students continue to go to office hours and meet in study and homework groups, but will this soon be gone too? Will we even need to go to class anymore, or will everything be done via webcams and instant messaging? Will students start sending their computers to class to do everything for them?
As ridiculous as these scenarios may seem, technology has the potential to replace physical human contact. If we continue down this path, it's not such a stretch to say that someday professors could become obsolete and we could all find ourselves learning from a computer. What's the point of even coming to college then?
There needs to be a balance between technology and personal interaction, or our generation will lose much of what makes us human.
Rebecca Chambers is a sophomore economics major who will happily Facebook message anyone who has any questions.