Saturday, September 10, 2005

Technology in the Classroom

In an earlier blog entry Olivia highlighted that with the implementation of technology into universities she feels that students don’t have to work as hard for their degrees and in her case it had made it all to easy to leave assignments to the last minute. While this maybe true to a degree (excuse the pun) it made me recall what my 70 year old and obviously veteran Economics lecturer, Gamini , said earlier this semester in relation to the same area.

He was giving a lecture on technology and the Internet and t
heir affect on ‘productivity in the workplace’. As any interesting lecturer does, he proceeded to go off on a tangent, relating the topic to his own experiences as a lecturer. He detailed how when he first started teaching the same 'Macroeconomics' paper in the 1950s all he had in the way of resources was a blackboard and chalk. Because of the lack of technology to increase student productivity it took him a year and half to cover the same material for that paper. He then contrasted this with today’s teaching of the paper where with the help of technology such as ‘Cecil’, ‘PowerPoint slides’ and photocopiers he can now teach close to the same amount of material in as little as 6 weeks and does so three times a year! He felt that student understanding of the material was the same if not better due to the implementation of technology.

Obviously in this case technology has made it vastly easier for students to learn the same material. While in making it easier for students, as Olivia highlighted it is not teaching them a 'good work ethic', what it is doing is enabling them to become vastly more productive and come out as a graduate with a lot more knowledge under their belt than they would have without technology to aid them. If this knowledge it as ‘well learned’ as it would have been in the 1950s, I don’t think the implementation of technology into universities can be viewed as a bad thing at all, but rather as a tool that should be grasped by all students and implemented effectively into their learning.

Alisdair Hungerford-Morgan


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