Story & Photo by Julie Archer
Technology is used nearly everywhere. There are electronic kiosks available to order and pay for food at restaurants, customer service representatives are often robots and some people cannot survive without their cellphones. Although technology can sometimes malfunction, it has become a convenience for many. This is why classrooms are starting to use more online tools.
“I have been a teacher for 23 years,” said Sandy Politte, first grade teacher and vice principal at St. Charles Borromeo Catholic School. “I have gone from using a chalkboard, to a dry erase board to an interactive Smart Board.”
A study in the United Kingdom from EdTech Magazine showed more than 30 million primary and secondary school students use Google education applications. Students are learning to send emails to their teachers and create documents to submit their assignments electronically, preparing them for colleges and modern technology-dependent careers.
Colleges and universities use eLearning programs for classroom efficiency. At Rose State, Desire2Learn and Canvas are the resources instructors use to upload their course content, and where students can submit their assignments and take tests.
“The use of platforms such as Canvas and D2L have allowed faculty and students to engage with each other beyond the four walls of the classroom in face-to-face classes, allowed instructors to move assessments to the online platform and utilize instructional time more efficiently,” Travis Hurst, dean of eLearning and Academic Outreach, said. “[The use of these platforms] has provided the means for students to take online classes at times, and locations, that best meet their needs.”
Students often have their own computers at home for school usage. The students who do not have personal computers have access to computer labs and school libraries to do homework, print assignments or other work that requires a computer. At Rose State, the Learning Resource Center has computers for free student use.
“For Rose State College, all of our instructors are asked to post their syllabus and gradebook online,” Dr. Dana Lindon-Burgett, associate dean for eLearning and Academic Outreach, said. “Using this strategy, instructors provide easy access to course policies, contact information, and grade standing. Anytime a student has access to the internet, they can find basic information that will help them succeed in the class.”
Although technology is a convenient tool in the classroom, it does not replace the face-to-face communication between the instructor and students.
“There is a great deal of research that demonstrates that notebooking and writing information, particularly using two-column notes or the Cornell note method, improves content retention,” Hurst said. “This skill is still valuable, even in the virtual environment.”
Some students like to have a balance with organization using notes and technology. With physical notes, internet is not needed to access the information.
The use of technology has evolved alongside education and it continues to change. Students and instructors may find it useful, but it does not entirely replace traditional learning methods.
The 15th Street News is a student publication at Rose State College.