Barely awake. Head still buried face down in this gloriously fluffy pillow – and even as I ever so slowly become self-aware, my hands are already crawling my surroundings, the bed, bedside table, drawers, under this pillow for my companion, my life partner, the one I can’t live without.
My phone. My smart phone.
Such is the morning routine of daily life for many in the coming generations, eyes barely blinking in sync before they’re hammered with last night’s social media updates; emails and schedules for the coming day and every now and then; the occasional morning selfie.
But let’s step back and have a look at all this new tech. Technology, new prototypes, advanced tools – these have always been taken up first by commercial pioneers before the general consumption of the public. Consider the handheld hoe to the tractor, scribes and pens to industrial printing presses to household printers. Not to mention the tech that we use every day that first originated from the military – the GPS, microwave and computer to name a few.
One absolute constant between every one of these cases of technological advances is that eventually, the technology will be refined to the point that it is practical enough for general public consumption. Time passes by and industrial, commercial and educational advances cause what was once just a luxury to become a necessity as demands for the technology on a day to day basis increase.
Students, arguably the most exposed and susceptible to this technology drive are at the forefront of criticism and examination on whether or not this increase in technology is appropriate. But what perhaps needs to be examined is the advancement itself. Kristen Walsh from the Bentley University in Massachusetts USA, calls attention to the shift from evolutionary change (slow, minimal to no change over time – the telephone from 1900 to 1980) to revolutionary change (telephone and mobile phone technology today with iterative and constant changes).
This shift causes ripple effects through the cyberpsychology and the social structure of the student learning environment. The institutes push to make learning as easy to consume as possible; replacing dedicated time spent in a lecture absorbing the teaching and making notes, to having that similar content available at our fingertips through mobile devices, recorded podcasts of lectures and lecture slides and the like. All adding to the adjustment of the mentality of the learner from having to remember and practice, to simply being able to reference the information at will with whatever device is in their pocket or backpack.
Now add to this, the push of institutions to make their content almost exclusively available through electronic format and you have the situation where individuals become forced to depend on technology for their primary directive – study. It is then only a matter of time and implementation for it to seep into daily life, regardless of whether technology played a big part in their daily lives before.
The numbers are evident of this, showing an alarming if not altogether unexpected trend. Considering historical observations and the trend of human advancement, it will be interesting to see what new technology will entertain future generations. Read our article about a survey Central College Online recently conducted asking Australians what new technology they think can help in the classroom.
Central College Online is a part of the Group Colleges of Australia organisation which has been established for over thirty years and offers online courses in more than forty subjects to thousands of students.