Tech-savvy university produces blessings and curses for students and professors

Seton Hill University (SHU)  is touted as a “Apple Distinguished School.” With the Griffin Technology Program, students are given Mac Book Pros and iPads when they become registered at the university. Being at such an technologically advanced school comes with great benefits, but also some downsides.We are spoiled at SHU and we tend to forget that. We have the privilege of learning in an environment where everyone has the same top notch technological resources. We will be prepared to use technology in the “real world,” and that puts us a step above of others in the job force.

Integrating technology in the classroom can be very helpful. Communicating with faculty is much easier for students because it is faster to access email, GriffinGate and other places on the SHU website. “Apps” can be helpful for everything from studying to classroom projects. Many textbooks can be bought as e-books cutting costs and weight in the backpack. Basically information is more accessible than ever.

Mobile learning means we can be less constrained. Clunky computer labs are a thing of the past, replaced by lightweight movable tables.

But this privilege comes with some weighty disadvantages. We become reliant on the technology whether we want to or not. When classes are dependant on technology, and there are glitches, classes can be stalled.

Also, the tech people have a lot of responsibility. Issues, like the shortage of Mac Book Pros for the refresh events, arise, and there is an opportunity for a lot of criticism. The tech support people do great things for SHU, but I’d imagine it’s a stressful job. We sometimes feel, because technology has been provided for us, that it is our inherent right to have problems fixed immediately.

When it comes to the classroom, classes are either too focused on the technology, using the technology for technology’s sake, or they don’t take advantage of the technology when it could enhance the situation. Many professors were at SHU before the technology advantage and are still adjusting to the changes.

Technology also provides a great way to procrastinate. During class, it’s much easier to check Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr during class. The temptation is overwhelming when class gets a bit too dull. Professors are forced to be even more captivating to keep the attention of students.

No matter what, SHU is advanced and we are lucky to be here. We have to continue to work with the technology so it becomes even more integrated and powerful of a teaching tool. It seems like every day there is an addition to our technology program, and that’s great. We are part of the revolution of technological education, so of course there are bugs. Part of innovation is dealing with the issue.

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