“If it (technology) keeps up, man will atrophy all his limbs but the push-button finger.” – Frank Lloyd Wright. I can easily relate to Wright when he says this. Compared to where I come from, the room in which we have class is like a NASA science laboratory. From the automatic curtains to the “smart” board and everything in between, I had never seen or used any of these prior to arriving at Vanderbilt. And funny thing is we, in Kuwait, thought our computer lab was high-tech. Well, I guess you can say technology is relative. But after I got the chance to stabilize myself from the technology shock of first class, it became apparent to me how much these technologies help us in our overall goal that is learning.
Wireless internet is not used effectively back home, so the mere fact that our entire campus is connected put me at awe. Things, as subtle to most of you as wireless internet, make a world of difference to me. (It took me a while to realize this difference though, because it initially took some time for my laptop to recognize the wireless connection.) But just think about it. Imagine our class without wireless internet connection. It would be more difficult not to mention boring and we wouldn’t be able to do the things we do now. Class time would undoubtedly be less productive, as more time would have to be spent on logistics and getting things like wires set up. And that’s only wireless internet. What about any of the other technologies we take advantage of in class?
Part of the learning process in Worlds of Wordcraft, is sharing knowledge and information. The projector and smart board allow us to do this, such as when a classmate wants to share a YouTube video or when our professors want to demonstrate an idea on LOTRO or the internet. These technologies make all of these things plausible. The projector can blow up a laptop screen for the entire class to see and the smart board can do just about anything. Sometimes in class, I sit there and find myself wondering, “What CAN’T this bad boy do?” Ultimately, technology saves us a lot of time, especially in this course given its nature.
The benefits of these technologies seem endless, but there can also be some drawbacks. The more we rely on technology, the less we do on ourselves. So, we end up being like slaves of technology. John Kenneth Galbraith eloquently puts it by saying, “We are becoming servants in thought, as in action, of the machine we have created to serve us.” Additionally, I think technology has made books and movies somewhat obsolete because now they can all be read and watched on computers. The way I see it, everything relevant to computers is “in” and everything else is “out.” We live in the age of computers where anything and everything can be done on your PC, making everything else virtually useless.
The benefits of computers and technology far outweigh the costs and, as a student of economics, I know that if marginal benefits exceed marginal costs, then we should be doing more of what we were doing. Thus, we should be using more technology.