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    Ethical technology use: Are you really learning?

    Emily Fessler

    The internet is a common resource for college students to use for research and homework assignments; however, it has become easier to find entire assignments word-for-word on-line and get the correct answers to schoolwork quickly. While using technology can be a great learning tool, are you really learning by finding the answers and merely using what is on your screen? It has become increasingly important to absorb knowledge within the classes that you take rather than relying strictly on technology to help you find answers. There are several ways to absorb knowledge in addition to technology use such as improving studying techniques, being present and attentive in class, and having passion for your field of study.

    How are you studying?

    Using technology to look over PowerPoints, to make digital flashcards, and to look for answers to course questions are all common ways of studying.  However, it is important to retain the information for the long-term rather than memorize what is on the internet for your quiz or test and then forgetting it all.  Everyone has different ways of learning. Find which studying technique is best for you by trying visual, auditory, and kinesthetic approaches and then picking the way that you remember the most amount of information.  Finding ways to improve your learning retention increases your overall knowledge and marketability as a job candidate. The overall goal in obtaining your degree is for you to become an expert in your field and obtain a job with your expertise.

    What are you paying for?

    Many students say the reason that they go to college is to get a degree and find a job.  This is important, but some students who graduate with the same major have a distinguishable difference in knowledge.  This can often happen due to not attending class. In order to learn, being present and attentive in class helps students stimulate their thinking.  This in turn raises questions and furthers understanding of the material.  Now imagine that you are the student who does not go to class but relies on technology to learn the material. You did not gain that understanding or critical thinking experience.  While technology may help some students get pretty good grades without attending class, those students are limiting their potential of learning from their professors who have real-world experience.  This is important for students to focus on because they will be entering the job market with their degree, and the professor knows exactly what the job market entails through their own personal experience. 

    Why did you choose your major?

    Most students choose their majors because they are passionate about their field of study.  Making sure that the passion stays throughout your college career is important in getting the most out of your degree. While the internet can provide you with easy answers, it should be used as a reference, not as a lifeline.  Before the internet was invented college students learned through textbooks and personal experiences in their majors.  Remember your personal connection with your major and do not let technology take that connection away.

    Technology gives us so much, but it also takes things away. Technology should be used sparingly when it comes to your schoolwork in order to get the best out of your college experience. Think twice when looking for answers on-line and you will be better prepared for life after school.