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Friday, May 28, 2010

Is technology making us smarter?

Technology of the 21st Century has certainly become our best friend. We rely on them to dig up sources and complete tasks in so little time. Are we relying on them too much? Is it really making us smarter?

Well if you want to know if Technology in the 21st Century is making us smarter, this is the blog for you.

History of technology could be traced back 2.5 million years ago. It was not as advanced as today, but it certainly did help us human beings to create more advanced technologies throughout the ages. Technology is the “usage and knowledge of tools, techniques, and crafts, or is systems or methods of organisation, or is a material product (such as clothing) of these things.” (Wikipedia, 2010)

Let’s fast forward to the mid 1940s. There wasn’t a lot of technology around as today. Not even a pocket calculator. We probably see people using papers and pencils to do their simple maths calculations. If they needed to solve trigonometric and logarithmic problems, they would use the tables at the back of their maths textbook. Typing up documents would require a typewriter. Back then, people had to watch out when they are typing to prevent typos.

Now in the 21st Century, we have graphics calculator to sketch up our graphs and calculate simple arithmetic problems. More important, we have computers to allow us to word-process the document without having to care when making a typo. It is far more advanced comparing to the 1940s.

Speaking about computers, they are the technology of the 21st Century. You and I are using a computer to read the blog at the moment. You and I use search engine to get information from a mouse click or two. Not only you and I, but many people in our society do it too. No wonder why technology is so important to us.

Socially and ethically, there are always benefits and problems with technology impacting on our society. Let’s discuss the benefits and problems that technology has on our society.

Some of the benefits of technology impacting on society are:
  • Opening more career path in the IT industries. This will make other professions less competitive and encourage more advanced technologies to be created.

  • New automobile safety features - Technology also helps with the creation new automobile safety features such as tire-pressure monitoring, Blind-spot detection/side assist/collision warning. This would reduce the death toll on roads.

  • Open world of communications. This would allow them to connect to their family and friends via IM and make new friends from across the world through social networks. People can retrieve news from the other side of the world in a little time through internet. All students who took the survey claimed that they have emails for communication purposes.

  • In working environment, technology could be use to allow employees to access company’s network outside the office. For meetings across the world, they can use teleconferencing and video conferencing to reduce travelling costs.

  • In education and training purposes, teachers will be able to run lesson for students away from school. Trainers would be able to run training video for employees to complete tasks competently.

  • For medical purposes, doctors and nurses can get an insight of the human body while the operation. They could also utilise MRI to detect diseases and cancers developing. They could use also use an ultrasound system to examine babies in mothers’ womb.
These purposes of using technology would benefit the society.

Some of the problems that technology has created for us are:
  • Laziness – we spell things in MSN/SMS language. According to the survey for a small group of year 11 students, 70% of them use MSN/SMS language in their written assessments. Plagiarism is another big problem. Students have the tendency of copy & paste information from a site to their assignment. This is a problem as it will impact on their school grades. Plagiarism breaches the copyright laws.

  • Distraction – technology can also be a form of distraction as well as a useful tool. This could be done through entertainments such as games and IM. Students may text message other students during class. This will reduce their concentration on school work, thus falling behind in school.

  • Unfit People – people are staring into the computer screens all day and not going outside for exercise. This is a problem as unfit people are more prone to get chronic diseases. This means higher death rate.

  • Theft – technology such as a phone, laptop, etc can be expensive. They can get stolen if attentions are attracted.

  • Internet predators – paedophiles targeting children and teenagers. Some children and teenagers may disclose personal information that enables predator to stalk on them. Imagine a person you’ve met online and you have never really discussed about your personal information turns up outside your doorstep. That would be quite freaky. People who are being stalked on would feel unsafe. The internet predators can harm their victims.

  • Cyber bullying – there are people out there being harassed with messages from phones, messengers, etc. It is said that 9 out 10 middle school students have had their feelings hurt online. This can lead people to into depression and possible suicide.
These are problems that we are facing with technologies today.

Technologies are playing a big role in today’s education system. "To get an education in today's world, you need to be learning with today's technology." Australian Acting Prime Minister Julie Gillard says.

Nearly every school in Australia have computers. This has changed the way students learn and teachers teach. It allows students to study independently. Students with disabilities can complete tasks at the own pace. Students that have multiple learning difficulties can communicate more easily through ICT. Downside of technology is that students spend more time on computers and not read paper-based books to increase vocabulary.

Queensland Education Department have rolled out laptops to all Queensland teachers. It allows teachers to plan out class works quicker and teach students via computer. This would cut cost on printings and save trees. ICT allow teachers to communicate with others when working in remote areas. They can improve skills and have extensive knowledge on access of technology used by students. Teachers can access resources in electronic form and have them accessed by all the students using computers.

Australian Government has been funding more money on technologies in school each year. Funding A$1.1billion for computers in school as at 2008. This had really opened a new world of education to all students of the 21st Century.

The Government should implement a “Computer-free day” in schools where teachers and students could stop using computer for a day. This will let them actually walk around and interact with other people face-to-face. It can make people aware that we don’t really need to fully depend on computers to complete our own work/study.

I think we are relying on technology too much. It isn’t really making us smarter. It’s more like making us lazier. Do you even remember the last time when you went out to a library to borrow a book? Or using pen and paper to write letters to your pen pal (you probably don’t have a pen pal in the first place).

Look at how you use technologies now. Is technology making you smarter or lazier?

This was an assessment piece i had to complete for school in March, 2010. I understand there might be some grammatical and factual errors in my work. Plagiarising any part of this post may risk you from failure grades and possible legal action(s).
I will try to upload my list reference later on.

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