Washburn invests hundreds of thousands of dollars in new technology all the time. Whether it be for projectors in the classrooms or new computers for the labs, investment in technology is a powerful tool for universities because students are going to be forced to use it in the work force.
Although universities across the nation are investing in technology, professors aren’t using it in the most effective ways.
A few months ago, I read a story about professors text messaging assignments to students. Recently, I saw that the Michigan state congress, which is one billion dollars in debt, proposed buying MP3 players for students.
Professors and high school teachers are always striving to be innovative to keep students’ attention, provide a different strategy for learning and help students. However, when professors start reaching beyond what most students have, they can create an imbalance in learning.
The technology gap has been studied over and over, especially when computers started to become a necessity for a college degree. I would argue that computers and broadband Internet is readily available to college students these days, especially at Washburn. But I don’t think everyone on campus has cell phones with text messaging capabilities or the latest iPod to upload their 40-page paper on.
I’m not being a technological grinch. The iPod and cell phone can probably enhance our education in some little way, but right now, it isn’t something that is necessary. I’m also a little perplexed as to why a student would give their cell phone number to their professor, knowing it will just bring more assignments.
At the point where we can’t communicate with our professors one-on-one, we lose that human interaction that is necessary for a good education. Professors being able to assign something on the whim will of course increase how fast information can be given to their students, but decrease the quality of it.
Also, I think there are certain tools that don’t always need to be used for education. If the MP3 bill passes in Michigan, we know students are going to use it for entertainment that doesn’t involve schoolwork.
Being innovative is one thing, but going too far can actually negate the whole purpose of using technology in the classroom.