Back when I was in elementary school (kindergarten to grade 6) my teachers all wrote on chalkboards, no teacher relied on technology and likewise neither did the student for learning the concepts. We had fewer than three computers in our classroom, and they were barely ever used. Instead of computer time, we had “reading” time every day for a certain amount of time, and every kid looked forward to it. There were no IPads in the classroom, or laptops, barely any technology was in our classroom, I mean besides those old school projectors! Now fast forward to a present day’s classroom, and you will find almost every kid with a laptop or a cell phone in hand. As technology has progressed over the years, people especially students have become more and more dependent on using technology as a learning source in the classroom.
As a student I am constantly using technology for projects, communication and even my online classes. The average student spends approximately 12 hours per day online whether that’s doing homework, or logged on to social media platforms. To me, that sounds like an extraneous amount of time to be staring at a computer. However, as I was reading that statistic and going over my daily routine, 12 hours does not seem so unrealistic anymore. From the time I wake up to doing assignments, to the time I go to bed checking my email and preparing for the following day of work, I am on my computer the majority of the day. The only times when I am not strapped to this 15” laptop is when I am actually attending class which with my schedule only accounts for an hour and a half a day. Thinking about the amount of time I spend online, is quite scary however I know I am not the only one. Because technology has grown so fast and is able to produce information at rapid rates, which is what the individual needs and expects, we tend to rely on technology a lot more then we should. I do not remember the last time I was researching a topic for a project and had to open up a REAL book for referencing. Why would I? I have everything readily available to me online! But thinking about this makes me wonder if I had to go into the University library right now to pick up a book for a project I had to do, I probably would not know where to start or where to even go in the library. My researching skills online are great, however if I need hardcover evidence my skills are lacking, which I am sure is the case for most students’ today. s those old school projectors! Now fast forward to a present day’s classroom, and you will find almost every kid with a laptop or a cell phone in hand. As technology has progressed over the years, people especially students have become more and more dependent on using technology as a learning source in the classroom.
So with all this dependency on technology and constant reliance on our devices to aid in our daily tasks..is this helping our brains or making us more stupid?
In an article written by NY Times, teachers have come to the conclusion that students’ constant using of technology is actually hindering their ability to pay attention and succeed at challenging tasks. Because of students lacks of ability to pay attention, teachers’ are finding that they have to work substantially harder to grasp and keep the students’ attention. After reading this article I am not surprised by these findings. Relating this to myself, I find that I cannot pay attention for long periods of time. When I am sitting in class, every so often I lose focus and feel an obligation to check my phone to see if anything is going on. Or if I am reading a textbook for class, I can only get through so many pages of information that I thoroughly can soak in before I lose focus and have to do another task. When I was younger, I definitely did not have to try hard to keep focus and stay on one task at a time, now it seems like it’s a challenge at best!
So not only is technology making it hard for people to stay focused, it similarly always makes the user want to multitask. Since technology has flourished, people now have the capability to multitask, and share screens with two windows so they can do two things at once. Seems like a great invention, with multitasking you can get things done quicker, kill two birds with one stone. However, with this push for individuals to constantly be multitasking this has hindered individuals’ capability to solely focus on one task for an elongated time period. Myself, I am hardly ever just doing one task at a time. Even when I am just watching TV, I’m on my phone or checking emails, I’m never just focusing on one thing.
When thinking about this it sounds SO crazy right? We think of technology being this great asset to life and can only help us, never hurt us. But the reality is although technology is great and can very much so help us in life; it is also making our brains melt as we are so dependent on it and now cannot do many tasks without it. Information is constantly at our hands, free and easily accessible with new updates every second. We can search on Google about any topic we need to and get the answers right away, making us feel like we learned something however we did not truly learn as we just typed some key words into a search engine and the information was brought to us. Technology is taking away our critical thinking it does the thinking for us we just merely have to guide it a little by typing in certain words. However, most people feel that they have a higher IQ due to technology but what they do not understand is they are losing cognitive parts and thinking in the brain because technology is doing all the work for us.
Einstein predicted this era of modern technology perfectly when he allegedly stated “I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots.” He said it perfectly; technology has taken away or lessened our human interaction. Instead of face-to-face conversations we text or Facebook our friends, we may go weeks without seeing them in person but we are still in constant interaction with them. A study showed that 48% of parents said that when they are spending time with their family, the members are distracted by technology. Take that thought one step further and 23% of parents say they communicate with their children online more than in person.
So is Einstein right? Are we just a generation of idiots but feel like geniuses because we have all the answers at our fingertips? It’s a tough question to think about and realize how much technology has done for us, and how dependent we are on it throughout our daily tasks. One thing is for sure, as technology continues to grow, we haven`t seen nothing yet in regards to how dependent we can become on technology.