[Editorial] With Great Technology Comes Great Responsibility
by The Milton Measure on Friday, October 17th, 2014
For many Milton Academy students, Parents’ Day is inevitably embarrassing. Cowering to avoid eye contact with friends, significant others, and teachers, many trudge reluctantly from class to class with wide-eyed parents glued to their backs. On the other hand, many parents view today as a wonderful time to fill their nostalgic teenage hearts with the everyday excitements of high school. Coupled with the common phrase, “When I was your age…,” parents observe the changes in our generation’s social and learning environment since their own high school experiences. Perhaps they will insist that Forbes food is far better than anything they ever consumed or inquire who allows all of these young girls to run around wearing leggings as pants. Parents will also likely notice the immense use of technology inside and outside of the classroom. Surely you could argue that parents got the short end of the stick in regards to education, forced to suffer through math homework without Khan Academy or 500-word essays without the comfort of a keyboard; however, in the words of Voltaire, “with great power comes great responsibility,” and with great technology comes students’ obligation to strike a balance between healthy and detrimental uses of technology.
Our generation’s “addiction to technology” comes with its benefits. News stories often feature children’s exposure to TV or the Internet benefiting real world situations—for example, a young boy recently used the Heimlich maneuver he picked up from a TV show to save his friend’s life. Closer to home, technology consistently benefits the lives of students and faculty at Milton Academy. Ideas as minor as employing iPads to speed up assembly check-ins or using software like Geometer’s Sketchpad to conceptualize geometric proofs and equations can improve efficiency and facilitate learning. Math courses use software to apply their most recent units to the real world, engineering classes can use 3D printers to produce their models, Smartboards make presentations more convenient for both students and teachers, and Schoology organizes assignments and course updates. Technology at Milton is unavoidable. In theory, the presence of technology seems only positive, as it makes learning faster, more intuitive, more personalized. However, some of technology’s most enthusiastic proponents admit that the coolest innovations and latest gadgets may yield undesirable consequences when used foolishly.
Many students have at some point been saddled with the consequences that stem from abusing technology. Whether it be small-scale procrastination—the occasional Facebook stalking that turns an A- history paper into a C—or more devastating decisions such as texting while driving, the power of technology is solely up to its user. Inside the classroom, some of the newest innovations in learning tools have been proven to inhibit students’ ability to learn efficiently. A recent study conducted by Mueller and Oppenheimer, published in the magazine Psychological Science, verified that students remember class material better when they take handwritten notes rather than typed ones. Not only can technology be detrimental in the classroom, but, as our parents are fond of reminding us, it changed the way our generation communicates. Although messages sent through Facebook, text, or email can be bolder than those expressed in personal exchanges, some might argue that they lack the sense of intimacy or the connection that comes from face-to-face interactions. In many respects, being so connected all the time has made us that much less connected.
Technology itself is neither good nor bad. The National Rifle Association’s famous slogan “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” applies perfectly to this predicament: everyday technology as common and mundane as the computers on which we write our essays and the phones with which we interact do not detract from the educational sphere; our abuse of technology causes this damage. Technology can open doors and facilitate learning, and we, at Milton Academy, are responsible to make sure it does.
Short URL: http://miltonmeasure.org/?p=6532