Technology leaving some in the dust

Abbey Stirgwolt

Approximate time between the invention of the chariot and completion of the first Model T: 3,908 years.

Approximate time for a computer to go from weighing 30 tons and occupying an entire room to weighing 1/2 pound and fitting in the palm of a person’s hand: 60 years.

Few would argue that technology is not advancing at an increasing rate.

So fast, it seems, that many Americans feel left behind in the wake of smaller cell phones, faster computers and newer media.

Yet in an age when technology is being steadily integrated into everyday life, a debate rages on the subject of how helpful these “advancements” are.

“Simple math is difficult now because of calculators,” said Abra Morgan, senior fashion design and psychology major.

Morgan, who uses her laptop computer to take notes for her classes, said she likes technology but not to the point where it becomes overwhelming.

Morgan said she often gets frustrated in her Macroeconomics class, which frequently uses PowerPoint and various other visual technologies at once.

“It’s just too much,” she said.

Greg Seibert, director of network services, said part of the reason for the stress that accompanies the advancing technological world is humans’ biological clocks: It takes us awhile to get used to things.

Seibert said it took the human race hundreds and even thousands of years to become accustomed to technological advancements in the past. All these led up to the Industrial Revolution in the 1700s.

Technology is advancing at such a fast pace that it can be overwhelming, Seibert said.

“The ages are being compressed more and more,” he said. “The challenge is the pressure to deal with it.”

The challenge for educators is to keep up with each successive technology-dependent generation. “We (educators) talk about your generation – in college and even in high school. Students have difficulty learning unless they’re entertained,” he said.

To deal with this, Seibert said, most educators have integrated some sort of technology into their curriculums. But there are still a few who have not.

“Today there are professors at Kent who haven’t integrated,” he said.

Seibert said the biggest issue for professors is to keep students engaged in the learning process as technology becomes integrated into the classroom.

“There are many (professors) who are worried about meeting students’ expectations,” he said.

Even outside the classroom, Seibert said, technological integration can be overwhelming and frustrating for everyone.

“Everyone in technology is feeling stressed,” he said.

As the technological-learning process advances and the Information Generation continues to feed its constant need to be “in touch,” many students are willing to take the bad with the good.

“As far as education goes, technology is good,” said sophomore fashion design major Shannon Stager. “But I’d be screwed without my cell phone.”

Contact technology reporter Abbey Stirgwolt at [email protected]