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The Legacy
Elizabeth Prepares Us for Hi-Tech Change for May 6th

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Murray's nice, the editor of her school newspaper in Milwaukee wanted to be published in The Legacy before she graduates in May. Henry Patriots: Last call for you to do the same!

 

       In less than the past twenty years, technological advancements have changed virtually every aspect of our lives. We meet people over the internet, we communicate through cell phones and webcams, we download music directly from the computer onto iPods, and we read about breaking news the instant it happens. Without even realizing it, we depend on technology for everything from typing a paper for English class to choosing a Prom dress to navigating from city to city. We can barely last 10 minutes without depending on technology, even if this dependence is subconscious.

     However, despite our world’s constant stream of high-tech innovations, one very important part of our lives has adjusted to the changes very slowly, little by little. Our education, that is, often seems to resist the fast-paced motion of the world of technology.

     Think about the most common way you communicated with your best friend last year. If you are like the majority of American teenagers, you probably would text her or chat with her on Facebook. Now, think about how you talk to her today; you send her a Snapchat or tag her in a tweet.

     Of course, casual conversation with friends is completely different from schoolwork, but this example proves just how distant the world of education is from the world of technology. Are your study methods any different than they were last year? For the most part, they probably are not.

     Despite the prevalence of Smartboards, class webpages, and laptops in the classrooms, we are stuck in old ways, as most of us still depend on textbooks, notebooks, and worksheets every day. However, high schools are definitely not alone in their failure to adapt to the big and fast changes that technological engineers and designers and companies are constantly presenting to schools around the world and students of all ages.

     College students are especially reluctant to this new wave of learning. Although the majority of them use laptops daily to do homework and take notes, they remain hesitant to rely solely on online textbooks. The reasons vary as to why this reluctance exists, but most college students attribute it to imperfections in publishing companies’ online programs and the study habits they formed in grade school and have practiced ever since.

     Perhaps the initiation of changes to curriculum and lesson plans must take place at elementary and middle schools in order to ensure that students have the opportunities to take advantage of all current and future technological innovations in the world of education. For example, middle school students at both St. Robert’s in Shorewood and Milwaukee Montessori in Wauwatosa each receive a tablet to use during school and at home. The administrations at these schools have found that the benefits of the tablets, especially their vast array of interactive learning, greatly outweigh the costs.

    Journalists, media personnel, and professors still advocate the undeniable value of print books despite society’s overwhelming tendency toward learning information via the Internet, but groundbreaking technological innovations are inevitable. Considering some of the most recent technological advancements in the world of education, such as resource labs, student centers with only computers, instead of or in addition to libraries on college campuses and systems that have proven to be effective among students and teachers over the years, such as online classes and school-based email accounts, it is obvious that the education that our children will experience will greatly differ from ours.  

    One day, the image of a student with a hunched back as she struggles to maintain the weight of a backpack bursting at the seams with textbooks will become old-fashioned; but as for the current generation of students, we are only the beginning of a new culture of education. After all, an iPad holds many more books than a backpack, and it weighs a little less, too.