Bridging the Gap

Beverly Amer uses an interesting way to present the increase in use of technology in my generation.  She shows how attached students have become to their phones, laptops, tablets, etc, and how they rely on it in their everyday lives.  She uses an example of how we have become dependent on our technology for things such as time management.  In all honesty, its true.  We have become dependent on technology for communication, social networking, etc.  We as a generation have become so dependent on it that if we are not using technology in school, mainly in college, we find it hard to stay engaged.  Amer presents tools for teachers, such as certain technologies and teaching styles, in order to bridge the “engagement gap” as well as the technology generation gap.

The technology age gap has become extremely prevalent on college campuses in the past decade.  Professors, especially, have been trying to find ways to bridge this gap.  David Perlmutter, a professor at the University of Iowa, uses an anecdotal story in his article “Bridging the Generational Tech Gap” about how the use of technology is growing among our generation and how it has affected the learning experience on college campuses,

…A job candidate at the time, came and presented to our faculty a summary of her study of social-network patterns in elections in Kenya.  Using geo-tracking software and hardware along with social media, she showed how the participants she had trained locally were reporting voting violations and associated violence in realtime and then creating interactive online maps that local and international media and election monitors could use to respond quickly to crisis.  I was awed.  In a field where revolutions in media technology change what we teach and what we study continually, her skill set was one we definitely needed to add to ours.  Also, I knew that tech-suffused undergraduates would be impressed by her and trust that she was knowledgeable in many things, not just the latest gadgetry.  Most of all, she was not employing technology for technology’s sake, but using it to solve problems to help real people.  I offer this introduction because I believe that there is a growing technology gap on campus.

Perlmutter’s article is a great example of a professor’s look on how the technology gap has affected college education.  Almost all forms of research, teaching, and learning are affected by new technology, in almost all subjects.  Perlmutter discusses how his colleagues who teach in fields such as physics, sociology, and history all have had to change the way they teach due to new and emerging technology.

It’s one thing to recognize the technology gap, but how can we fix it? Many experts, including Perlmutter, have said that it has to start with the professors.  In the video of Beverly Amer’s presentation, it was quite obvious she was presenting to a group of faculty.  She addressed the importance of the technology gap to these professors because the shift towards technology starts with them.  By having faculty come together in light of the issue, they can start to plan how they will overcome this.  Training, proper encouragement, and incentives should be used in order to get professors and faculty to reform.  The technology age gap has given them a chance to redesign curriculum, to use technology for better student engagement, and to change college education for the better and for the future.

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