I wasn’t fully on board with technology when I first arrived at college in the sense that I still really appreciated the physicality of things. I still wrote all my notes by hand for every single course. Although my syllabi were online, I always printed all of them out. And while e-learning versions of my textbooks were significantly cheaper, I still opted to pay up to $50 more for each hard copy.
No matter how many hand cramps I got from note taking, or how heavy my back pack was from carrying books around campus all day, I still pushed on. But it didn’t take long for me to realize that my university was more integrated with technology than I was at that point.
Every paper I turned in class also required an electronically submitted copy. My first two businesses classes already required the purchase of online software in order to complete our assigned homework each week. And rather than handing out readings in class, it was up to us students to access them online (and decide whether we wanted to be the ones to kill a tree’s worth of paper).
Over my past three years at college I’ve adjusted my approach to learning. It is not that I’ve changed my educational values but rather I have come to learn what the power of technology can do for me as a student. With the capability to work at a far more efficient pace, I can maximize the content I learn in class from all different angles. I have come to realize that it’s not the content of education that changes, but rather the efficiency, accessibility, and accuracy with which I consume it.
Technology will never replace the human interaction that is so vital to learning, but instead can provide a wider platform for delivery consumption. So I don’t necessarily need to sit in an auditorium to attend a presentation; I can join in via a web portal. But it doesn’t mean that you should only watch baseball on TV. Sometimes you get more from sitting in the stadium.
So as I enter into my senior year of college, I now take a much closer look at the reality of the question: what if education was driven by technology?
When it comes to education, technology is much more than just about how the single student is affected. Technology provides a platform to bring education to far more people than is possible on campus. I think the future of technology holds the potential to bridge the gap between the live experience and interactive one.
Online education is already taking steps forward to provide students with this combined experience. The SAP Learning Hub, Student Edition is a perfect example of interactive learning and virtual accessibility right at a student’s finger tips. Not only does it give students the flexibility to learn anytime, anywhere, but it also helps students get a jumpstart on potential future career path at SAP or any company that works with SAP technology. With the job market on every college student’s mind, this kind of technology creates an incentive for students to start learning about their future careers before they even graduate.
Technology changes the way we access information and volume at which we consume it. Today’s first grader learns very differently than even I did. Technology will continue to influence the means and pace at which we learn with interconnectivity playing a large role. But ultimately we need to constantly evaluate the balance of this pace to make sure that we don’t learn things so fast that we leave other important things behind—like growing up.