Technology In College Classrooms: Experts Weigh In


Technology is shaping education in many ways, but there are many different views about it.

Some say technology in schools is good, because it helps in learning and teaching. Ashok Goel, for example, takes advantage of modern technology to teach hundreds of students - all at the same time.

Goel is a professor at the School of Interactive Computing at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, reports Voice of America. Every term he has about 300 students in his Artificial Intelligence (AI) class.

Goel's classes take place in a virtual classroom in the internet. Because of this, the students don't meet each other personally, yet Goel is able to teach them all at the same time, wherever they are. Students also ask him questions on the internet.

One advantage of using technology in teaching, according to Goel's experience, is that one can teach students faster. He once noticed that the virtual students kept asking the same question, so he introduced a new assistant to the class: an AI computer program named Jill Watson.

Being an AI, Watson is able to answer all the students' questions faster than a human, and can respond to inquiries anytime of any day. Goel said he hopes that teachers will be able to use AI for their own on- and off- classroom activities, too.

Parental support

Teachers and students aren't the only ones advocating their support for using technology in classrooms. According to a survey reported by EdTech Review, more than 90% of parents said that technology is very useful in education.

An opposing view

An expert, however, doesn't like the idea of using technology in classrooms.

Jose Bowen, president of Goucher College in Baltimore, said that giving students tons of information over the internet doesn't automatically translate to the students understanding how to use that information. Colleges should teach people how to think critically.

"So those tools are there. But the problem is that online content by itself doesn't know how to ask you the question 'What interests you? What motivates you?'" Bowen said.

In addition, Bowen said technology requires a certain amount of money to be accessible. Thus, only those that have money can afford to use it.

It boils down to this

While Bowen might not advocate the usage of technology in classrooms, he admits that technology can do things that human teachers cannot. Both he and Goel, however, agree that compares to the personal relationship that a human teacher has with students.

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