Richmond Undergraduates' Points of View

What Undergraduates Really Think About Computers, the Internet, and Technology

Some students believe that technology and computers in the classroom will enhance education, providing even more opportunities for communication and information:

"I think that the emerging technology will enhance the quality of the classrooms that have access to them by expanding the academic community in which they [students] study and the quality of information that they have access to."

--Kevin McCarron

"World wide communication is now possible in a matter of seconds. We can send E-mail, post in a variety of newsgroups, ranging from class discussion to consumer issues and political ideals and discussions. The advantages of interchanging ideas and solutions through the Web are immense."

--Desiree Maldonado

"I have been acquainted with cyberspace through making use of the NET and E-mail. I have become an avid E-mail user as it has become the main means of communication with my friends attending other universities. . . . . This new technology is also very significant to many professors and those in corporate settings as it allows for quick and long distance communication."

--Dorothy Giordano

"When it comes to writing, I can see many advantages [of Internet technology]. For one, no more problems with printers breaking down. No more problems with wasting paper. . . . . The papers can be sent over miles in just a few minutes instead of days."

--Todd Ferrante

"In the future, even newer technology will emerge and cultural adjustments will continue to occur, until many people within our society become computer literate. The possibilities of establishing a cyberculture are endless!"

--Erin Fleming

Other students questioned the role that technology should play in our education, pointing out the issues and complications that arise from the incorporation of technology in classrooms:

"Many advancements in technology have actually been setbacks. . . . And is it [technology] really helping us learn? Does a student learn when they have to write a paper on a topic and they find a previously written paper on the exact same idea on the Internet? No. They don't use their own minds as much as they could have. People are getting lazy, and technology is promoting that . . . . .I'm coming from the standpoint of a communications major who doesn't see the computer as an effective way of communicating."

--Celeste Fernandez

"Still, as wonderful as it is for a teacher to introduce her students to cyberspace and show them the immeasurable world that can lie ahead, isn't it taking away from the personal contact between teacher and student, between student and student, that is a hallmark in writing conferences?

--Kelley Kazor

"I do worry about losing touch with teachers. I think that is the one thing that should never change, teachers. I never want to listen to my teacher over the phone or on video conferencing. The experience definitely dwindles in this area."

--Todd Ferrante

"Before E-mail, the Internet, and computers in the classroom, the methods used in education had been rather consistent for many years. While the advantages that come along with many of these technological devices make certain parts of the education process easier for some, many who are not yet adept at the new technology seem to be left behind."

--Jeff Lewandowski

A few students reflected on the transition from the simpler and more traditional means of education to new, high-tech methods of exchanging ideas:

"People as individuals must accept it [technology] and learn how to better equip themselves for the up and coming age of the Internet. I, for one, have been quite fortunate to always have access to this new type of learning. My high school and college educations have both been conducive environments for this modernization, and therefore, I have grown up accepting and adapting to the hasty changes."

--Jennifer Nevins

"Imagine what our parents would have said year ago if they were asked whether or not they thought it would be possible to have small computers in the home to learn. I feel that the progression over the years has been quite rapid and will continue to be, but who knows just how far it will go? I think the process is inevitable, and all we can do is go with the flow and make the best of it."

--Jonathan Wakefield

"Currently, I am observing a fourth grade classroom and already I have seen these kids display computer skills that are better than mine are now. They have been brought up with the new forms of technology and probably can't imagine life without them. The key to a successful transition into the age of technology, I think, is to provide as many opportunities for use as possible."

--Jocelyn Lipscomb

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