While technology certainly has made our lives easier and less strenuous in the classroom, we need to keep in mind that there are some things that we cannot learn by searching it in Google.
There are important skills of life we cannot learn from sitting in front of a machine with a web browser open. One of the most important things that we learn from being face to face with people is one that most of us take for granted: the skill of face-to-face interaction.
Not only is it essential for college students to critique this skill as we are preparing for interviews, as we get ready for the real world, but it is a must for kids as soon as they start their schooling careers. How to interact appropriately with one another needs to be a skill that children are picking up from a young age, but in this age of technology, people seem more apt to want to text or Skype someone than have a face-to-face conversation.
While technology has assisted us in so many things, it is inadvertently hindering us in what should be basic human skills. No matter how much we can learn from a computer, there are other things that a machine will never be able to teach us.
Recently I have discussed the possibility of a master’s degree with some human resource managers, in which each one told me the same: Whatever I do, do not bother with online courses. They even told me they tend to look down upon resumes in which the individual had received their whole master’s degree online, all relating back to how there is no human element when taking classes online. Even though there is still a teacher and student in an online course, the entire message is being mediated by a computer. As soon as mediation starts to occur, in any form, the message tends to change as it is now being taken out of context.
While some technology can assist a teacher in his lesson plans, some tend to lean on it far too much. I am sure most of us have had a teacher or two whose entire semester consists of them standing at the front of class and reading off a PowerPoint. I know I despise this teaching method, as I am in firm belief that it is not even a method. Since these teachers are leaning so heavily on technology, why don’t they go the last mile and just throw up the PowerPoints online and not even hold class? I can read them myself just fine.
People learn best when they can hear other people’s examples and experiences which are related to the material. Is that not what college should be? Taking the material and relating it to real life out in the work place so we can actually see how the things that we are learning about are going to be used? I don’t know about you, but scribbling down a PowerPoint then answering questions does not exactly get me amped up about what I am learning.
Without the human element in the classroom, we may as well just be machines going through
the motions. n