Psychologists for years have warned of the damage done to human thought processes by becoming overly reliant on technology. They’re not the only ones, though. When the pocket calculator was first invented, math teachers predicted a world where people couldn’t even count because they relied on these handy gadgets to do everything for them.
Fast forward to the modern era where everyone carries phones that have more CPU power than yesterday’s supercomputers. While it would be very bold to say that technology is making students dumb, it’s easy to assume that easy access to this kind of hardware is starting to hold them back. Most notably, many students are suffering from a form of what some in the mental health field have termed digital amnesia.
The Google Effect
Studies conducted at Harvard, Columbia and Wisconsin-Madison have all helped to illustrate the so-called Google effect, which is a form of digital amnesia that makes people incorrectly believe they know more about a topic than they do. Students in these studies were asked questions and were told to either answer them or simply admit they didn’t know the answer.
Instead of admitting that they didn’t know about a topic, students often pulled out their phones and started tapping away at them to find the answer. Psychologists concluded that people may actually be forgetting things they once knew because they’ve become so reliant on search engines to give them the information.
However, not all the news in the field of education is bad.
Examples of Beneficial Internet Technologies
While students might be forgetting important details because they’ve become so reliant on using their phone’s built-in browser, they also have access to many tools that can help them. Those struggling in a language arts class might turn to a professional writer service to tackle difficult essays. Many universities have begun to upload classes online so traditional students can go back over parts of a lecture they didn’t understand. Individuals enrolled in distance education have done these kinds of things for years.
College instructors are also taking advantage of this trend by uploading additional reinforcement materials on their class’ web pages. Students often forget material they covered in class if it isn’t covered multiple times. Those who take advantage of these extra lesson plans might be able to raise exam grades since they’ll take more away from each lecture.
Grades aren’t the only part of the student experience that’s been altered by technology, however.
Technology & Sociability in Higher Education
Some clinical psychologists feel that social interaction in college might be even more important for students than coursework. Technology is often blamed for making people antisocial. Academics have even suggested that a reliance on technology can hinder the development of communication skills.
However, online NLP courses might actually help students develop those skills online. Experts believe that students who have difficulties with verbal communication might get more out of an online life skills course than they would from a traditional one. By addressing their problems on their own time, these students can reduce their anxiety level. They also won’t have to deal with the pressures of uncomfortable social situations.
Will Technology Hold Students Back or Rocket them Forward?
When it comes to the field of formal psychological research, many experts are concerned about students who rely on the Internet to answer every question they have. Some people have started to use search engines for things they’d otherwise easily remember. Researchers have also opined that there’s a possibility that students will be getting faulty information from the Internet.
In some cases, information on the Internet may also be more accurate for those who are diligent. A couple of studies seem to suggest that printed classroom materials are often no better than those found online. Students are able to access a much wider variety of viewpoints online as well. While some of these might conflict with what’s taught in class, that can be a good thing since it encourages debate and critical thinking.
Educators are likely to see many Internet-addicted students in the near future that are unfortunately held back by gadgets designed to push them forward. However, they’re also likely to see many students with fresh points of view who are encouraged to learn because of the influence of digital technology in their lives.