You are studying for your upcoming Intermediate Algebra mid-term; you missed class a few times and are in desperate need of a crash course. Where can you possibly find all of the necessary information? Thanks to the technological developments of the last two decades, there are plenty of sources such as Google and YouTube that make for great study tools. Just search for solving quadratic equations and watch tutorials or read detailed explanations. Technology has had a positive impact on how well college students learn—or has it?
Recently in my Financial Accounting course, the professor informed my class that he would be changing his style of teaching from expecting students come to class, sit down, take notes on the day’s lecture, and study—the way it has been done since the antiquity of organized education—to watching a podcast (prepared by the professor) on our own time, and then come to class and ask questions about the podcast lecture. This style of teaching shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, the use of this tactic has been springing up in college classrooms, even penetrating its way into high schools, all over America. Most are willing to accept this shift that the integration of emerging technologies into the education system brings because they are unaware of the negative implications. Although technology and the internet can be helpful in some of their more benign uses, exaggerated use of emerging technologies spawns a variety of factors that are harmful to a students’ education including a decrease in student motivation to attend class and do their best; the development of poor study habits, that may affect us in our careers as well as our academic performance; learning from unreliable and inaccurate sources; Marshall 2
and the complication of the learning process brought forth by online learning platforms.
Too much technology in the classroom diminishes the students’ motivation to do their absolute best in school. Why go to class when you can just teach yourself what you missed using the internet? The more instructors change their teaching styles, the more students involuntarily change the way they learn in order to adapt. Die-hard students with 4.0 GPAs will always get an A, no matter how the course is structured, but what about everybody else? Staying motivated and not slacking off just because you will still pass the course is a thought that passes through every student’s mind from time to time. But in a classroom ruled by iPods and apps, students are more prone to give in to this thought and settle for a C when an A was relatively feasible with a little determination.
A decrease in attendance rates is just one concern. Darren Griffin, a geneticist and educator at the University of Kent in Canterbury, UK; integrates podcast lectures into his teaching method. He states “to further coax them [students] into the classroom I give brief quizzes before each class, I get 98% attendance that way” (Callaway). Mandatory daily quizzes just to keep attendance up, I sure we can all agree that would take even more valuable lecture time away. What a waste of a class period. Think about this realistically—why would any student want to spend an hour watching podcast lectures, spend an hour and a half in class taking a daily quiz on said podcasts and then review it all? What a waste of time, considering the classic way of teaching and learning, the way it has been done since the time of Socrates, is more time efficient and places more responsibility on the individual students’ personal motivation to pay attention. True, the podcasts do give the ability to just press replay and hear the whole thing over again, but should we really be taking the easy way out? Good note taking and staying on task in class is just as effective, assuming you can manage a minimum of one hour’s study per week. Marshall 3
We also must take into account that not everybody can easily access