Editorial: Modern Technology’s Strong and Laggy Connections with Academic Success


Microsoft Chief Product Officer Panos Panay introduces the Surface Laptop 2 during a news conference, Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2018, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Modern technology pervades college campuses worldwide. Professors encourage students to use their laptops and cellular devices resourcefully within and beyond the classroom. However, instructors also admonish students who immerse themselves in technology and disengage from their education. Thus, wireless signals have undergone much interference in their attempts to send a unified global message regarding modern technology’s effect on university education.

Professors have valid reason to lament the cavalcade of technology usage in their classrooms. After all, the internet and social media platforms pose as troublesome distractions that inhibit deep informational processing. According to an empirical study published in Educational Psychology’s July 2018 issue, Rutgers University students’ “average daily quiz results showed no evidence of harmful effects from the use of technology. However, the average results of the larger tests and final exam … showed that all the students performed poorly on questions covering material taught on days when they were permitted to use technology in the classroom”. This is one of many studies to illustrate technologically-induced memory interference. Non-technology users may also get distracted by their counterparts’ technology consumption, inadvertently suffering the consequences of other students’ nonchalance. Furthermore, technological freedom paves the way for academic dishonesty on in-class and take-home assignments and assessments, which harms students regardless of whether or not their shameful behavior comes to light.

Technological implementation in the classroom, while not without its drawbacks, benefits students and professors tremendously. Although perhaps inducing shallower information processing than handwriting does, laptop typing allows students to keep up with their professors’ often-frenetic lecturing pace. Technological advances also facilitate informational accessibility via reputable sources and other students and expand the creative possibilities for an otherwise-monotonous class structure; examples include, but aren’t limited to, social media implementation, interactive games and quizzes, and collaborative projects. Some computer programs even incorporate anti-cheating measures and prevent students from visiting distracting websites and applications during class. Modern technology is arguably more accessible (particularly for the disabled) and environmentally friendly than the somewhat antiquated pen-and-paper, and it initiates a simulation of real-life multitasking; discouragement of such applicable experimentation is a missed opportunity, especially within an environment that prides itself upon preparing its inhabitants for the outside world.

In conclusion, modern technology affects education positively and negatively. Regardless of their respective technological usage rates, university students must remain focused on the task at hand (no matter how dry the subject matter is) and act in a manner that leads to optimal academic performance.

Michael Katz is a contributor for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email michael.katz@uconn.edu.

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