Knowledge Bound: The RSC Blog



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Posted on Mar 30, 2012 - 06:00 AM | Online Classes | Comments (0)

Why is it that in the information age, it’s so easy to forget things? Is it information overload? Or is it that shortcuts are among our shortcomings?
 
These questions are at the heart of the debate on how best to educate students. Tech companies and their tech-savvy clients are pushing one approach; long-time teachers and traditionalists are pushing another.
 
Let’s examine the advantages and disadvantages to technology in the classroom.
 
Disadvantages to High-Tech in the Classroom
 
  1. Key word search.  A study by Princeton University found that students who read online texts or ebooks tended to read them like the Web – by skimming the page and looking for keywords that seem important. Students who read printed text read the entire page and, not surprisingly, did better when tested on the material.
  2. Decreased memory. Easy access to information tells your brain it's not as important to memorize it. Students who go through the laborious task of researching information show better retention, if only so they don’t have to go through it again.
  3. Too many distractions. High tech learning – even in the case of ebooks – often comes with all sorts of bells and whistles that distract from learning: pop-ups, links, videos, etc. While traditional textbooks might have the occasional sidebar and references for additional research, they don’t serve as immediate distractions that take you away from your studying.
 
Advantages to High-Tech in the Classroom
 
  1. Immediate access. Students can get information quickly, even on their phones. This means you can look it up while it’s still fresh in your minds and not forgetting when you get home.
  2. Interactive. Information is often presented in a way that’s engaging and fun and encourages further learning.
  3. Immense information available. Immense amounts of information can be found in one place rather than spread out over several textbooks (where the cost of bookmaking often limits the data presented).
 
Blended Learning: The Best of Both Worlds
 
As we can see, both the traditional and high-tech approaches to learning have their problems, which is why the latest approach is blended learning. Combining these two methods not only meets the learning styles of most students, it reinforces what you learn elsewhere. Blended learning lets students conduct additional research and meet approaching deadlines using technology, without skimping on the critical thinking skills required by more traditional methods.
 
What you must avoid is applying the bad habits of web research to textbooks. Don’t look for keywords. Read the materials thoroughly first, then, if necessary, type a keyword into the Search/Find box to get more information.
 
The Internet and other applications mean you can find information quicker, but it doesn’t do you any good if you have to look it up over and over again. That doesn’t make you educated; it makes you robotic. Be in charge of your education. Use high-tech tools to learn, not do the learning for you.
 
To learn how RSC uses our online services to reinforce your classroom work, visit Our Programs.

 
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