Surrounded by my laptop, iPhone, iPod and flash drive in my book bag, I have seemingly packed the essentials for a 21st century girl day at the library. In just my immediate area I can see 19 people working, but only 1, just one, singular individual in this sea of college students has no sign of technology with him at the library.
And how did I spot him out so fast, you ask? Well, I realized he somehow looked different from the surrounding population…he had something special about him. Well, it’s not his glistening Power Rangers t-shirt, so it must be the fact that he’s holding only a highlighter and a book.
It’s ultimately a little sickening to me that a strong majority of my peers, including myself, don’t really know how to study without a computer in front of us, yet it doesn’t shock me at all. Our generation, labeled the Net Generation by a How Stuff Works article, has come to be so dependent on technology it’s actually terrifying to think where our college educations would be if all of our technological systems shut down and vanished tomorrow.
But we, the American college-student demographic, weren’t always like this. Even ten years ago students were just starting to integrate technology into their day-to-day studies and it was barely a thought in the educational days of our parents. So with this I have to wonder, if they made it through without technology why can’t we? Is our relationship with technology an advancement in our educational paths or a digression in our incredible reliance on it? My guess is a little bit of both.
An incredibly informative and incredibly long infographic I came across highlights the major differences in today’s tech-savvy student compared to the traditional resources a college student would have used in decades prior. The article starts out by giving eye-opening statistics like:
– More than 90% of college students use email to communicate with professors.
– 73% of college students say they cannot study without technology.
– Seven in 10 college students take notes on keyboards instead of paper.
– 38% of students can’t go more than 10 minutes without checking their smartphone or other device.
– Students spent $13 billion on electronics in 2009.
And what I thought was the most shocking that twelve million students take at least one class online today — in five years, that number is projected to exceed 22 million. By 2014, analysts say, more than 3.5 million college students will take all of their classes online.
—all according to research compiled by Presta Electronics.
The article goes on to make “farewell statements” to the types of traditionally-used student materials that are being replaced by technology. These mediums that have become out dated and “farewelled” include:
Original: Note cards – small, lined, easy to carry and quick to study from.
Replacement: Evernote Peek – a virtual notecard application that helps students study and also stores their grades.
Original: Student day planner – fits in backpack, can quickly write down assignments and keep track of obligations.
Replacement – Wunderlist: application that tracks assignments, creates daily to-do lists automatically and can be synced to your computer’s web interface.
Original: Hand-held calculators – plastic, graphing, scientific and useful.
Replacement: Grades 2- Smartphone application that allows students to calculate exactly what grade they need to get on a test in order to achieve a goal and tracks GPA and course credits.
But it’s not just college students who are adapting these technological changes, it starts much earlier on in the education world. Almost exactly 5 years ago a video was posted on YouTube where elementary-aged children were advocating the need for their teachers to integrate technology into their learning. This was a topic of interest even 5 years ago, so I can only estimate the incredible magnitude this issue has grown in K-12 schools since.
And if you’re still wondering about that boy in the Power Rangers t-shirt…well, he pulled out an iPad. It was nice while it lasted.