Okay, maybe the first three times your mom came in your room you were texting but now you decided to do your homework. What our parents, grandparents, and the elder generations do not realize is the variety of ways we interact with technology on a daily basis. As a freshman in college aspiring to be a Computer Engineer I interact with twice as much technology on a daily basis without even realizing it. For the past two weeks I have been paying special attention to the way people react, treat, and use technology. You’d be surprised how entertaining it actually was for me. Here are my top 5 ways I found students interacting with technology:
- Social Media:
Have you ever had that itch that you just have to check your phone in the middle of class? Or possibly get on snapchat, twitter and Instagram? I even have a class that requires me to tweet for a grade. Our immersion on social media is so deep many of us could barely go a whole day without checking our phones. While on one hand social network sites seems to bring people together and connected on the other hand it creates social isolation. Social isolation can lead to a host of emotional, psychological, physical and mental problems which include anxiety, depression and somatic complaints among many others. Other negative effects of social networking various people suggested included encouraging poor spelling and grammar, exposing underage to online predators, allowing spread of misinformation that is perceived as fact, decreasing productivity as those who are supposed to be working spend time in the sites to chat, provide a perfect platform for cyber bullying and providing details that increase risks of identity theft. So why do we waste so much time looking through our social media? One of my suitemates told me that “she likes to keep in touch with her family and being able to look back at things she said and did” as she was tweeting.
- Emotional and physical reactions:
Face it, we’ve all had those moments where we get an ugly text or sad news and we take it out on our phones and computers. In the past week I have seen people slamming their laptops shut, throwing their phones across the room, disgruntled professors flailing their arms at projectors, and my favorite was a guy yelling at his laptop in the middle of the Library at 2 am because “it won’t load”. Needless to say just glancing down at your screen for a second can send a whirlwind of emotions almost instantly. So why do we spend so much time on a device that causes so much emotional stress? Because this generation has built an attachment to technology and has become more accustomed to the emotions generated by technology than by face to face interaction.
- Distracted interactions:
My favorite on campus distraction was last week a student on a bike was inches away from running me over with his bike because he was texting while riding. Of course it would not be my favorite if it actually happened but needless to say it was funny. After he finally looked up he stopped and apologized and explained that his girlfriend was mad at him and send him a message “longer than life”. Which was ironic considering my life was not going to last too long in that situation. So why do we allow ourselves to become so immersed in technology? Technology may give us easier means of communication but it easily distracts us from the importance of life that is happening right in front of our faces. Also, many of times I find myself completely imersered in my phone or laptop in class while my professor is preforming a lecture and I miss half of the notes. Needless to say sometimes it is just easier to use pen and paper and stay focused.
With easy access to all sorts of technology, we (students) multitask. So do lots of us for that matter. But we (students) are way too convinced that multitasking is a great way to work. They think they can do two or three tasks simultaneously and not compromise the quality of what they produce. Research says that about 5% of us multitask effectively. Proof of the negative effects of multitasking in learning environments is now coming from a variety of studies. If you ask me to pat my head and rub my tummy at the same time it is not happening. But if you asked me to call my mom while tweeting a picture of a bunny that you just sent me I would not even have to think twice about it. Also, in this day and age we can use one device for multiple tasks which can be very handy yet distracting if you are trying to type a blog while texting your friends (like I am right now).
- Educational Reasons:
The variety of ways we can use technology to better our education is impeccable. A typical day for me begins in history with no technology except a projector displaying boring power points to a computer science class where I learn the basics to binary code in which your computer uses to talk to wiring circuit boards to make a tiny little light flash when the power is transported properly to it. Also, in the educational realm of technology there are devices to help students with disabilities. My boyfriend who attends the same college as me has a hearing disability, for granted hearing aids are very common in this day and age but it is incredible how something so small can impact a person’s life and give them the ability to learn almost effortlessly. Also, another way I have noticed students using their technology not only by multitasking but learning as well. Many of times I have walked by a computer that is on split screen and noticed that the student is playing a lesson they found on YouTube while doing their homework to aid them further than the professor did in class.