Technology : Benefit and Distraction.


Shaq Lanhorne

 

366002_0Technology has become second- nature to my generation. We are consumed by digital devices with internet capability and social media websites. Our infatuation with  these ‘free’ applications is altering the way we live our lives. We no longer eat, dress, speak, exercise, interact, share information, form relationships, attend meetings, or even learn the same. We are crippled by the thought of not having our mobile devices surgically attached to our bodies. In fact the feeling of panic that one experiences when reaching for their phone and being unable to find it is unreasonable.  We’ve all felt our heart drop because of the thought of losing a disposable item that keeps us connected to the rest of the world. Sounds familiar right?

Michael Mabry
Michael Mabry

Schools are exposing children to technology in as early as first grade.   This really hits home for me because my three year old sister, who’s working diligently on learning the letters of the Alphabet, can confidently identify the Facebook “F”.  The daycare she attends is fully equipped with computers that have typing games. Crayons, flashcards, and actual hand-writing practice seem to be things of the past. An article in the New York Times suggests that penmanship and handwriting may have some correlation to how the brain processes information. When I spoke with some collegiate students about the way they took notes I did get similar responses about retention.

Writing utensils and paper are Starting to disappear in Higher learning institutions. Instead, there is an abundance of smart devices. They are used both  in and outside of the classroom by students and facilitators. The problem with this is that it creates a window for distraction. A trusting professor might ask his /her students to pull out their laptops and follow along with a presentation. There is no way for that professor to guarantee that those students will remain focused, and not find other ways on the screen to entertain themselves.  Not only can technology be detrimental to students but for professors as well. Take the Steven Salaita for example. A potential Job opportunity was compromised after  he practiced his right of free speech. The application he downloaded free of charge costed him a Job.  Due to recent advancements in the mobility of media/technology, Salaita’s tweets and picture traveled around the world Instantly. There is no real effort required to obtain information. You can simply type your question in to a search engine. Questions with no specific topic, genre, or merit. This is another way technology has forever altered the way students learn. They cheat.  Plagiarism is a violation of Student code at most Universities, but the lack of effort necessary

Professors are using technology to check papers submitted by their students for plaigarism. They also use technology for a series of other things like collecting data, making presentations, storing and up-keeping grades, and communicating with confused students.

One might wonder how it is that something that poses all of these risks is still widely accepted in our society? Well thats simple. The Benefits seem to outweigh the flaws in the grand scheme of things. Technology and it’s advancements have not only allowed the worlds elite minds to come up with medical miracles, but literally reach astronomical heights as well. Social media specialist like Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger, Creators of Instagram,  knew what interests people and  made them go . Themselves and the opinions of others. Through  the study of human interaction they figured people loved to show others what was going on in their lives.  I still do not understand the reason we feel the need to publish every aspect of our lives with strangers.

Being able to use technology means being competent in today’s world. The world is undergoing a revolution and you should prepare yourself for it. Don’t get left in the Digital divide.  I produced an audio piece and a video piece that might give you some insight on how others feel about technology. (otso.h.media.illinois.edu) After all if their opinions didn’t matter you wouldn’t have half of those ‘free” apps on your personal media devices.