Monday, October 10, 2005

Technological advances in learning

There's an interesting article on technology in American colleges at US News & World Report. A sample:

Colleges and universities around the country are scrambling to keep pace with innovations in technology, both to flaunt their abilities as cutting-edge research institutions and to engage a generation of students armed with camera phones, Wi-Fi laptops, and Google. Some classroom technologies, like course websites, are already widespread while others--such as podcast lectures--are still experimental. But each new technique aims to revolutionize the learning process. Many faculty and students worry, though, that these advances are just distractions from the material and from time-tested methods of teaching. No one yet knows how effective these new teaching tools are. For now, students and instructors are engaged in what amounts to a national beta test to determine which of these technologies will go to the head of the class.

They give some anecdotes to illustrate some of the new technologies that are being used. There's no doubt that most of them are useful, but, in the final analysis, no technology can substitute for a teacher's passion and a student's interest. Technology can enhance a learning experience but it's no substitute for a teacher-student relationship.


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