Technology can be seen as blessing curse for students

Sometimes I wonder how people ever lived without the Internet.

I’m sure a few of the Baby Boomers reading that statement just shook their heads dismissively at me, but it’s the truth. One of the many flaws of my generation is that we don’t know how to do anything the hard way – or maybe I should say the smart way.

Some technology critics say easy access to the Internet has made us incapable of thinking as well as those who precede us.

Hesitantly, I kind of agree with that – or at least the thought process that goes into it.

Before the Internet, people actually had to think for themselves. There’s a certain amount of brain power that’s being taken away by the way we use technology.

For instance, it’s really hard for me – and I don’t think I’m alone here – to imagine doing all of my research for a paper using actual books. I honestly can’t remember the last time I did that.

I’m hesitant to call myself a technology critic, because I love pretty much everything about it. But I think it’s important for the people of my generation to understand and appreciate how easy we have it.

A couple of generations ago, it literally would not have been possible to research and write a whole paper in one night. Teachers, don’t cringe too much – we all know it happens.

These days, all you need is a solid connection and a big pot of coffee, and it can be done. How well is to be determined after you hand it in.

Maybe it’s not good that we can do this. We’re probably not learning anything by waiting until absolutely necessary to start a paper, and yet most of us do it. I think it’s mostly because we’re secure in the belief that there’s material just waiting to be found on the Internet.

We know we don’t need a lot of time, as long as the Internet is available. Which is why it’s so disastrous when it’s not.

The Internet at my house in Fairview has been, to say the least, spotty over the past couple of weeks, and I’m pretty sure my brother and I are going certifiably insane. I guess it’s a good thing our mom’s education is in psychiatrics.

The only thing worse than having no Internet at home is having an unreliable connection. When there’s no connection at all, and you’re sure the ridiculously overpriced bill was paid on time, you know you have a problem. It’s fairly easy to call and have it fixed, providing you’re home during normal business hours.

Not only is no one in my house home during normal business hours, but sometimes the Internet connection is perfectly fine. It’s only at 10 p.m. on random nights, like as I write this column, that the connection disappears.

There’s no chance that I would actually be writing this prior to Tuesday afternoon if I had the Internet to distract me. There’s also no chance that I’ll be able to pretend to be smart for much longer if I don’t have access to Wikipedia and the like.

And it’s a good thing I don’t have any big papers due tomorrow, because I would have no way to do all the research in time for the deadline.

Dependence on the Internet may make me less of a thinker, but at least I’m not alone.

 

KELLY MORELAND

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