Technology is important. It has helped us keep in touch with the world, given us hope and communication, and enabled us to feel more connected to other countries and nationalities. However, I believe there are two sides to every progression, and below is a short account of how the technology in the past ten years has affected me.
Turnitin.com is a program that has been used by schools in the last few years, to check for plagiarism in student essays. It can also be used to check grammar, quotation ability, and general writing skills. It actually sounds quite good. Here’s the bad part – If your computer goes wrong, if the access address is forgotten, or even if the site goes down, the student can not turn in their paper.
My children have had to use this frequently, and seeing as the teachers are setting target times to send in the essays, and calling it late or invalid if it does not get there in time, it has been stressful. We have had computers go down, and both children unable to access the site even with correct passwords.
The following is a statement from one of the teachers:
“In the event of a computer issue, and the late submission of your essay, it will still be marked as late.”
How unfair is that? I miss the days when teachers accepted hard copies, and didn’t seem like robotic computers themselves.
iPad and Electronic Books.
In 2010 Apple launched the iPad, a kind of tablet computer with built in applications for electronic books called iBooks found in the iBookstore. There are other applications on the iPad, such as games and the internet. It is the iBooks that I thoroughly dislike.
My local bookstore may close soon, one of the reasons being the onset of electronic books, they just can’t keep up. Personally, I know at least 6 people who do not read actual books anymore, downloading on their iPad is all they need. A friend of mine ordered 3 books from the store, whose staff were elated at getting the business. Unfortunately my friend realized she could get them on her iPad, and so didn’t go to pick them up, she hasn’t been to the store since.
The one good thing I’ll say about electronic books is that the font is larger, which is good for my husband who has squinting eye issues.
So far the education system here has not resorted to eBooks, and happily the children are still reading real paper and print from real bookshelves – so scared that this will change.
The Smartpen is a pen that records spoken words as the student writes. It comes with special writing paper that when pressed in a certain place with the pen, enables the written word to be recorded and downloaded on a computer. When configured, the pen is the same as any other.
My daughter uses the pen at college because of a learning disability. It has eliminated her fear of missing the notes and forgetting everything. She has more confidence and has passed classes she otherwise would not have been able to.
Is progressive technology good or bad? I would say it is a fifty fifty split – I wonder what is around the corner.