Technology Breeds Mental Lethargy

Published On February 15, 2011 | By Sonia Su | Opinions

Fact is, technology can be extremely beneficial. However, it is a complete myth that it will do your job for you. Turning on the overhead and slapping on the day’s notes while students feverishly attempt to copy them before they are replaced yet again is not teaching. Likewise, Googling every answer on the chemistry homework is not exactly learning. These scenarios are the product of laziness and the idea that technology replaces responsibilities. Students and teachers need to appreciate the positive advantages of technology instead of taking the convenience for granted.

Sure, it may be tempting to Google the answer to a tricky Physics question and just get it over with, but what happens when the student is tested on a similar question? So the student got a point for doing that homework problem. But he or she ends up losing it anyway on the test. The internet can help students to further their understanding, not just provide the answers. Resources include, but are not limited to, practice tests, PDFs, e-books, research findings, simulations, articles, lesson plans, videos, etc. Stuck on a complex math concept? Search Google or YouTube, and one will find various videos that review it, along with hundreds of other educational videos on the subject. When used properly, the Internet can help students and teachers review concepts easily without having to spend hours in the library flipping through pages and pages of encyclopedias and textbooks that might or might not help. Keep in mind, though, that these Internet resources exist as an aid, not an easy way out.

Technologies such as LCD overhead displays, overhead projectors, and document cameras are also supposed to enhance involvement between students and teachers, as well as save time. Again, use of these technologies does not replace responsibilities to learn or teach. LCD projectors can project notes from a pre-made PowerPoint presentation or an interactive activity featured on a website, rendering learning to be that much more interesting and making it easier to hold students attention. Overhead projectors used in schools since the late 1950s facilitate an inexpensive and convenient way to project notes and diagrams, and written, typed, or drawn on transparencies. Instead of erasing a blackboard full of notes and rewriting it for each class, teachers are able to simply make one copy of the notes and reuse it, saving time and money.

Students can also use LCD overhead displays and overhead projectors for the same reasons—to save time and money. No longer is it always necessary to drive to a Michael’s Arts and Crafts store or Staples and buy a huge poster board or tri-fold, along with the art supplies, to complete a visual presentation. With computer programs such as Microsoft PowerPoint and Google Docs and the help of projectors, presentations appear cleaner and are made easily visible to the audience.

So when students need help on homework, they should utilize the vast amount of Internet and computer resources available in ways that will truly help them: email the teacher, “Google” and “YouTube” it, view helpful interactive games and simulations…the possibilities are endless. Why should a student limit himself to one textbook? This applies to teachers, as well. Technologies, despite lessening and simplifying workloads, do not replace their responsibilities either.

Go ahead and play along with online simulations to help you learn and review concepts; save time on research papers with online databases and search engines; economize in schools by wasting less paper and by directing the money away from replacing aged textbooks; and benefit from overheads and PowerPoints—just remember, there’s a fine line between practicality and flat out laziness.

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