An overwhelming majority of people use it everyday. Some people sleep with it at night, cuddle with it like a favorite stuffed animal and a shocking number of people can’t even go ten minutes without checking it.
Technology use is sweeping across the MSU campus like wildfire and it is beginning to creep its way into the academic lives of students and pose potential issues on communication, said Zachary Retterath, a senior elementary education student.
“I think that we’re already on the verge of something dangerous in our society where we’re becoming socially awkward because we rely so much on [technology],” said Retterath. “It kind of worries me that we are not having as much face-to-face interaction like with online classes.”
Rapidly changing day-by-day, professors are beginning to implement new forms technology into their course curricula and everyday classroom life. These advancements in technology are beginning to form a new era of learning and education here at MSU that could have complications, said MSU students and faculty.
Jeremy Steele, a specialist in the School of Journalism, said that one of the biggest drawbacks of virtual classes is that issues may come from not having a personal connection with his students.
“It can be hard to figure out if students are understanding a subject,” Steele said. “It’s very different from an in-class experience in that you never get to know the personality of the [students].”
As a professor who strongly discourages technology use during his lectures, Charles Bokemeier, an accounting professor of practice at MSU, said that the majority of students he sees using laptops in class are doing something that is completely unrelated to taking notes.
“For most classes, all you have to do is walk into a big lecture where computers are out and observe what is on their screens,” Bokemeier said. “I don’t have [any] statistics, but I have observed [that] the majority of the screens are not related to the course … [and] often these students will be the ones doing poorly in the class and wonder why.”
Many professors now are beginning to post their PowerPoint lectures online, which allow students to access virtually all of the information that is presented during class. Katelyn Butman, an MSU sophomore pre-nursing student, said that when professors do this, it gives students little incentive to go to class when they can learn the majority of the information on their own.
“It motivates me less to go to class if they are going to post the same thing that they are going to say out loud to the class,” Butman said. “I am probably going to think twice before I go to class that day.”
Although technology may have growing issues, online classes can work well in a university setting when managed correctly. After having his first trial run with teaching an online summer session of JRN 203 this past summer, Steele said that this version of the course had multiple benefits.
“The advantage was that [students] could take it anywhere and not be tied to campus [and] they could do assignments on their own time and work on each lesson at their own pace,” Steele said.
While technology is becoming more implemented into learning at MSU, Bokemeier said that students still have to find a good equilibrium between technology-based and traditional styles of education and not become over-reliant on one form or the other.
“In the end, students still have to read, still have to express themselves through problem solution, writing, etc.,” Bokemeier said. “ [Students] still have to be able to think and communicate answers both with technology and other wise.”