It's no surprise that innovative technology has revolutionized the way we perform many tasks in our everyday lives, and the use of technology in college education is no exception. The standard university education has been given a much-needed facelift, integrating social media, handheld devices and online courses into its already rigorous curriculum.
Technology brings new opportunities in every aspect of life and, regarding a college education, the options are becoming endless. We need to continue the technological advancement in the classroom, so future generations have new and greater opportunities.
At Virginia Tech, professors have found new and inventive ways to integrate technology into every day teaching lessons. One example of modern technology used in a large classroom setting is the iClicker. As much as the iClicker has revolutionized the setting of large lecture halls filled with 500 students at a time, some professors are still not sold on the product.
Information systems professor Jean Lacoste and geology senior research associate Luca Fedele have similar opinions of the iClicker in their large class settings.
“The iClicker is a wonderful tool for quick grades,” Lacoste said.
Fedele called it a “carrot on a stick.” He uses the iClicker to take attendance and encourage his students to come to class by giving out participation grades based off of in-class quizzes. Fedele further states that he feels like the iClicker essentially turns his lecture into “a quiz show.”
The iClicker example shows technology has simplified our modern classroom.
However, the iClicker is only one aspect of the technology revolution happening on Tech’s campus. There are online classes available, huge computer labs where students can conduct research, and even a place to rent video equipment for assignments known as the InnovationSpace. It is astounding how much technology is at your disposal.
No matter what professors and instructors think regarding the new arrangement of teaching, technology can take away from traditional teaching methods. However, it’s a switch that needs to be made with care.
Fedele thinks that technology’s influence goes both ways in regards to students learning the material at hand.
“Technology is great for research; everything you need is at your fingertips,” Fedele said. “Technology is extremely useful, but one should be careful of using too much.”
Technology is a tool to further the goals of students learning in a massive university setting. In the end, some professors will choose to embrace the new innovative and interactive teaching tools, while others will continue to teach by the book. Professors should embrace this change with authority.
One thing is certain: technology has changed the scene of teaching at all grade levels. Who knows what the future will bring? One day, we may be strapping ourselves into virtual helmets or taking online classes for every subject. The possibilities are endless for a world that continues to advance at such a rapid pace.
It is for this reason why I feel that by-the-book teaching methods will be phased out in the long run. The use of laptops, webcams, online databases, online textbooks and even online lectures has revolutionized the modern day layout of the classroom. Soon, students will not be learning in a classroom environment. I have always advocated the advancement of technology in every area of life. As new, high-tech methods are tried and proven to work, the modern classroom will become essentially defunct to the dismay of many professors who stand by its effectiveness.