The era of technology has not passed by the contemporary education system. Come to any classroom – and you will see numerous students typing their notes on the computer instead of using a regular pen and a piece of paper. Look at the students during the break: how many of them do not use laptops, tablets, or cellphones? This is true that technology is dominating today, but is it as bad as it may seem? Now we would like to talk about use of electronic devices in the school environment.
• Do electronic devices do any harm?
This is a very controversial issue. According to a number of studies, students who write down notes during the lecture memorize information better than the ones that taking notes with the help of their laptops. The reason is quite logical: modern students type much faster than they write, this is why typing their notes does not make students care about the quality of information they get – only about the quantity. Those students who write the notes down cannot be very fast, this is why they need to omit some information giving preference to certain facts. When they listen to the lecturer, they need to analyze the material fast and make their notes as clear and informative as possible. Thus, writing notes down is considered more effective. However, we cannot say that students who are typing their notes do not acquire any valuable skills. Of course, if they spend an entire lecture chatting with their friends on Facebook or posting pictures from the resent party to Instagram, then electronic devices only distract them from the subject. But a lot of students prefer this type of taking notes. First, they manage to capture every single word their lecturer says, which can be helpful when they review the notes before the exam. Second, students can acquire great typesetting skills that might be extremely useful later in life. Today having advanced typesetting skills can be a requirement for a job applicant, and for many students taking notes on the laptops is a good opportunity to practice.
• Why do we like electronic devices?
As you can see, there are pros and cons of using electronic devices in the educational setting. Are there any other reasons we can give to prove people that cellphones and laptops are not as evil as they may seem? Definitely yes. To begin with, electronic devices with access to the Internet give us the feeling of comfort. This is especially true for international students who leave their homes and start a new life abroad. Numerous social networks and Skype let international students be always connected with their families and feel love and support. In a stressful environment students find themselves when they move abroad it is very important to know that they can always be in touch with the ones they love.
Secondly, most universities today use e-learning websites that are very helpful for both students and professors. First of all, professors do not have to deal with piles of printed homework assignments and carry them in their bags. Everything is submitted and marked online. Then, professors do not need to bring copies of articles they want students to read. It is enough to upload all the necessary reading materials online, and every students registered in the course can get them. Certainly, all this is possible only with the help of electronic devices. Now students can ask questions about a subject when they are on the bus on their way home – everything is available when you have a tablet in your bag or a phone in the pocket. What else do we like about using electronic devices? With a tablet or a pocket book there is no need in buying a heavy printed book and carry it everywhere. Moreover, a lot of free e-books are available online today, and people can just download them and enjoy reading them without spending a lot of money on buying a new book. This is a huge advantage of electronic devices. Again, read anywhere and anytime you want. Just connect to the Internet and download any book that you want to read. Electronic books, tablets, ad laptops make reading less problematic. It is also fantastic how easy it can be to work on a group assignment. Professors love group assignments, but it is not always an easy task to meet with the members of your group when everybody lives in different corners of the city and has different schedules. With our devices and access to the Internet everything gets better: you can create a Google doc and share your ideas right there. You can edit each other’s writing, add more information, and discuss various topics. Studying gets so much better when you can sit in your room in a cold rainy day and communicate with your fellow students and solve all the academic problems without leaving home.
Many people will say that people are constantly staring at their cellphones and do not communicate. That is not true. If people want to communicate, they do so. Many people might say: look at the people on the bus – everybody is busy with their cellphones. This negative commentary is not always fair. If we remember what people were doing on the bus ten or twenty years ago, we would notice a similar situation: everybody is reading a book or a newspaper. Everybody is busy with something else. In the era of technology this ‘something else’ is a cellphone. Do not criticize electronic devices so much. All in all, they make our life so much simpler.