We have all seen and read the reports about the negative issues that are associated with technology, but what about positives?
Of course, I can talk all about how email, texting and video conferencing allow us to be better connected. Honestly, is this not a known basic truth by now?
Remember attempting to speak to your teacher after class with a horde of fellow classmates? All of you would lay in wait as if you were cats of prey on the Serengeti waiting for the instructor to ever so slowly back away from their podium…then POUNCE…you would ask your question.
You know you did it. I did it!
This does not happen in the sheer numbers that it once did because instructors are readily available with their devices connecting them to their students, colleagues, University and classrooms.
Remember how much you enjoyed the beloved college rite-of-passage of group work? Many hours were spent trying to simply coordinate days and times for members of a group to meet at the library to work on an assignment. That wasted time is a thing of the past, as group areas can be created within online learning platforms for students to meet and work together with discussion boards and file sharing.
The instructors can also access the groups to see the progression of the group and activity level of members. In turn, ending the delight of students who did absolutely nothing and received the same grades as their hard-working counterparts.
I absolutely detested those students!
Administratively speaking, there is less and less wasted time standing in line in regards to tutoring, advising, financial aid, Veteran’s affairs, etcetera. Students have up to date information at their fingertips at University/College websites.
Remember waiting for class schedule booklets to be distributed or waiting in lines for hours to get index cards representing class sections in an attempt to put together a schedule? Over are the days of collecting your “class” index cards to create a schedule, only to find out a class was cancelled and forcing you to begin standing in line all over again. Also history is the secret passing of the athlete’s phone registration line, which would guarantee that you got the classes you wanted before the thousands of other fellow college students registered. Class schedules are now provided online and far in advance. This not only allows for planning for next term, but for far reaching graduation preparation.
For we instructors, there are no more hours spent going through library microfilm and old periodicals to find supplemental materials for their students. (My eyes have really improved since I stopped doing that, by the way.) One method of enrichment now for instructors is to use online educational videos provided from Kaltura and Ted – just to name a few.
We spend more time in our “classrooms” than ever before due to some portion of them being in the online environment. We can verify if students are active within the class , grasping the material at hand when teaching a hybrid or fully online course and provide quicker and more in-depth feedback on all activities and provide links to materials for assistance.
I believe the biggest crowning academic technology achievement is the ability of instructors to share our grade books with the whole class and not merely have it sitting on our desk in our office. Ancient history are the days of students not knowing any of their grades during the term or waiting outside the lecture hall for their final grades to be posted by their Social Security number.
I could go on and on with positive impacts that technology has made on higher education. I know there are some reading this blog who remember the way things use to be before the partnering of higher education and technology.
Ah, our memories of pre-histotech times are something to cherish.
We are just at the beginning of what technology can bring to higher education and this reminds me of a quote from a classic film, “I think this is the beginning of a beautiful relationship.”