Saturday, May 30, 2015

Technology Allowing Education for Little to No Cost

When people think of a normal education they think of going to a classroom, listening to a teacher and taking tests. However, with more and more information being available on the Internet, online classes have become popular. Online classes are becoming more available and at a much more reasonable cost.

I go to college out in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, which is about 6 hours from my home. I must live out in Pittsburgh year round, pay to travel back and forth to and from home for holidays, as well the cost of tuition. Being a full time student makes it hard to manage your time because of activities and jobs. The costs of a good education adds up very quickly and can become very expensive. It can be challenging to have a job to help compensate the cost.

Over the summer, I took a few online classes. This allows me to have a job during the day and then work on my studies at night. Online classes were also more reasonably priced and I did not have to worry about travel costs or living costs.

I learned just as much from online classes, if not more, because I have to sit down and teach myself the information. There is a teacher to help guide the course and ask questions. However, having the self-discipline to take a course independently forces you to focus and memorize the information. Every assignment has its own due date and I have to make my schedule work to get the assignment in on time. This allows me to have flexible hours to get the work done especially if I worked ahead. It is nice to be able to work on assignments during my own time instead of having to be at an  8am class  every day where I am half asleep trying to take notes. I learn a lot during physically attending the class room, but most of the learning comes from  studying the material at a later time.

More and more universities are offering online classes each semester and a larger variety of subjects are also being offered. This can allow students to study whatever they wish and get a quality education. Some colleges and Universities, such as the notable, Penn State University, allow students to earn their degree through online classes. They call it Penn State World Campus. Other colleges and universities even have their online courses available at no cost to the student. This allows anyone who wants an education to capitalize on this opportunity.

With all that is available on the Internet, the ease and accessibility of online classes can be very beneficial to those seeking a solid education with a  busy schedule. By having courses available for little to no cost there is almost no excuse for people no tto take advantage of this great opportunity and receive a great education.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Hillsborough Schools Incorporate Technology into Learning

By Meghan Scarpiello

There was a story in the news,recently about  a school in Hillsborough ,New Jersey having incorporated technology into their classrooms for students of all ages. There was a panel discussion with attendees from more than 25 districts, middle school students, and high school students to discuss the benefits of integrating Nexus tablets and Chromebooks into the classrooms. Hillsborough had distributed 2,800 Nexus tablets to all of their kindergarten through fourth grade students in their district. There are also Chromebooks available for the students and teachers to use. Majority of the Chromebooks, 4,600 of them, were distributed to students in fifth  through twelfth grade for their use at home and at school.

Hillsborough started  trying to incorporate these devices during the 2011-2012 school year in algebra 1 courses and since have grown. The following school year the devices  accommodated at least 10 percent of the fifth-twelfth grade population. The third year the Chromebook accounted for  20 percent of the fifth-twelfth grade population. Finally this year, every student was able to have access to their own Chromebook. The school district hopes that having a 1:1 ratio of student to technology means that having technology will become more of a normalcy  of learning in the classroom.

This is an example of how technology is beginning to truly make an impact at school and at home. The school district is trying to expose students to these new styles of learning and use them to benefit higher learning. There is also no discrimination for students who may or may not be able to afford this type of technology on their own because the schools are providing it and using it as a special tool. Over time I believe this will be seen more  in many school districts. After more districts become comfortable with the new technology integration, there will be  more and more data coming out about how well technology really is working as a tool in the classroom as well as at home to complete schoolwork.

Friday, May 1, 2015

The Pros and Cons of Studying with Technology

By Meghan Scarpiello

It’s that time of year again! With finals around the corner it is time for all the college kids to start studying and cramming a whole semesters worth of information into their brain in only a few days. Guaranteed, technology will play a role in both hurting and helping these students survive.

The tables in the library will be full of scattered notes, both written by hand and typed. The typed notes are obviously due to technology. Many students may even study their notes straight from their laptops. The computer, in my opinion, is one of the best  technology advances  to assist students with schoolwork. Not  just for reviewing clear notes, but also for accessing the Internet and typing the many papers that will be due.

The Internet is a great source for watching videos and answering any of the questions you may have. Can’t visualize how DNA is transcribed? Search for it on YouTube and watch a video of it being explained. Can’t remember what DNA stands for? Open a tab from Google and search for it; guaranteed the answer  will pop right up. The Internet is a quick way to help students answer questions they may have instead of wasting time searching through notes, textbooks, or even trying to get a hold of their professor. Using technology  could have students getting answers quickly and conveniently  rather than having to hunt professors down or waiting until office hours. Granted, old fashioned office hours are very beneficial, but the Internet is an excellent resource, as well. Students can also access their textbooks online rather than carrying so many heavy books. The fewer the books students, the more they preserve their backs. The Internet will save many students time when it comes to studying.

Not only will it save them time studying, but time writing papers as well. My mother always told me how lucky I was to be able to use Microsoft Word to write my papers instead of using a typewriter. Being able to make mistakes, correct them, do an automatic spell check  all on the computer is enormously easier than having to retype a paper because of a few mistakes. It is amazing to think about how much technology has advanced through the decades. I do not view my mother as being that old and knowing she had to use a typewriter in college is mind blowing. The computer has advanced so much in my lifetime that I cannot picture schoolwork without it. Even research papers nowadays have become much easier than in the past. My mother told me she had to go through books and newspapers and magazine in the library to find the information she needed. Now a days, just type it into Google Scholar and you have a handle of articles at your fingertips. If you have access to databases, then searching for articles is just as easy. This will save a lot of time and get you the best research possible from updated studies. Writing papers of all kinds has improved due to the use of computers.

These are the positive ways the computer has helped students, but there are also some negative ways. Students already have a lot of work around finals time, but trying to finish up other assignments and submit them, can pile up during this time due to procrastination. It is always a good idea for students to take breaks during studying so they do not exhaust their brain. However, a five or ten minute study break can turn into an hour  if students get overly distracted by social media websites.  Media sites such as: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram,  can be accessed through ones laptop and this can easily waste precious study time. This will only add to the students stress and the need to cram more information. It will reflect in their grades and the student may not achieve the grade desired.  Even smartphones are pretty much handheld computers that have notifications, texting, games, and many other applications that can be a distraction and affect how students study. It will divert their focus and increase stress levels and poor grades will arise from it.

All this technology can benefit us and hurt us at the same time. We just need the self-control to be able to use it wisely.