Technology Boon or Bane

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It has become fairly common in education circles to discuss the effect that computers, the internet and a myriad of electronic ‘gadgets’ has had on education and on students. As a teacher the change that these technologies has brought is evident every day. No longer do students need to spend the time searching through books or journals, now with a few clicks Google can instantly deliver any information they need. The speed of delivery of information has proved to be a boon for research but the new technologies may also be contributing to a serious problem. This paper will look at the video and article, ‘A Vision of Students Today’ and examine how the video can be seen as symptomatic of this problem, the effect that instant answers and instant information is having on students’ ability to think and to concentrate.

In the video Wesch tries to show us what his students are thinking and doing both inside and outside the classroom. The video attempts to illustrate that the traditional classroom, whether in university or grade school, is no longer relevant to the ‘wired’ generation. Near the end of the video a student holds up a sign that says, ‘I did not create the problems, but they are my problems’. Watching the video one wonders what problems she is referring to; the ample evidence of a very limited attention span in some of her classmates? Students who play on their computer or listen to an IPod while someone is lecturing? Students who are more interested in Facebook or their cell phones than their classes? While for many viewers the video causes a reaction of anger directed towards the students, Wesch appears to be trying to relieve these students of any responsibility for their actions. Despite all the evidence to the contrary he would like us to believe that these are bright, enthusiastic students who are being held back by ‘the system’. Wesch appears to believe that this is backed up by the students’ claim that they ‘hate school, but love learning’....
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