Technology and Education

The New York Times published an article the other day on the effects of technology on the minds and lives of people. Although most of the information found in the article is not all that surprising, it does raise some questions in regards to the use of technology within schools. It was not all that long ago that I was in elementary school and I remember using computers and technology very little. If we did, we used those large floppy disks and usually only to play Oregon Trail. Technology has added many positive contributions to the learning environment, but these contributions may not be without a price. In the last decade or so, as technology has become more prevalent in the school setting, we are seeing more and more cases of ADD and ADHD. But, technology is the school setting is not the only factor . . . technology now consumes our households. Families now have numerous TV’s, numerous cell phones, numerous computers, etc. We have to work harder to get away from technology than we had to a number of years ago. I see many of the effects discussed in the article everyday in seminary. We all know the excitement of a new email in our inbox or somebody writing on our Facebook wall. Anybody who has Facebook knows that hours can pass without even realizing it. In classrooms, as more and more lectures are being posted online, the temptation to surf the web in class seems overpowering. I have watched people read the news online, read some blogs, and shop on Craigslist or eBay in a one-hour class. One hour!!!! That’s it. One of the reasons I have resisted getting a laptop at this point is that I fear it would consume me every moment it was on and in front of me. Some professors at my school do not allow technology in the classroom. I think this is a very good move towards recovering a focused education in which students are actually engaged in the material for more than a fleeting second or two. I sometimes wonder if the greatest of minds in world history are all in the past, as technology removes us from deep, prolonged periods of thinking.

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