I find myself a fairly good multi-tasker, which I believe could be because of the long hours I spend on laptops and search engines, having multiple tabs open working on each one simultaneously. But at the same time, I have a short attention span, and can never finish reading a page from a magazine without looking at the pictures, flipping the pages, drinking coffee – which funny enough could be due to the same reason of using “technology” intensively.
My point is, every emerging technology has its advantages and disadvantages, and to benefit from those advantages, you will need to sacrifice something else. Personally, I taught in a college that prevented the usage of technology in class, and that was a policy. Mobile phone usage was also considered disrespectful to the instructor, so it was not allowed either. Face-to-face interactions are important as they build confidence, social skills, and spark interesting topics, but the idea of stopping students from using their laptops now might not be the best idea. Allowing them to use it continuously could also be distracting them from the teaching, or as Farman, J. (2012) says, “limits our ability to engage in meaningful dialogue and produce true knowledge”. So, what do we do?! After having experienced both scenarios, I can argue that there is a need for moderation in technology usage. Ultimately, usage can be limited to certain times of class, or in certain classes that require note-taking. Consequently, students will not be completely disconnected from class, and will be benefiting from technology when needed.
Technology could be a distraction, could be the reason we’re losing our attention quickly, and possibly even losing our friends; but at the same time, it will continue to advance, and no-one should be left behind.