Tech. changing typical classroom atmosphere

Erin Pierce, Contributing Writer

With the ongoing progression of the technological world, the question stands on whether or not utilizing technology in the classroom is a distraction to students.

Northern Kentucky University, for example, has implemented various forms of innovative technology with the emergence of Griffin Hall over the past year and a half. The Digitorium houses a big-screen display system that is comprised of hundreds of smaller screens, something that has been a forefront to the promotion of Griffin Hall due to its distinctiveness among the nation’s universities.
Chris Cole, director of marketing and communications at NKU, said he believes the technology now available to undergraduate students will promote further academic achievement.

“Students now have access to the type of state-of-the-art instrumentation normally only available to graduate students,” Cole said. “Having this access will obviously provide skills and experience that will help students compete for the best internships and co-ops while at NKU and the best jobs after graduation.”

Communication students, particularly those involved with informatics, have been drawn to assets in Griffin Hall like the Digitorium and are finding them helpful when collaborating with professors. The LEAD Commission, which took a general poll on the relationship between education and technology, found that many educators feel they still need more training to conduct classes using new technology.
Cole said the communication professors at NKU are readily able to collaborate with students in the classroom more so now than before the emergence of Griffin Hall. With classes that assist in the development of new teaching techniques, based on what Griffin Hall now holds, professors can present information in ways that have not been used before, such as polling students on course information through text messaging and computer software.

One of the most recent techniques being used in classrooms throughout Griffin Hall is the use of the Avid Isis. Students, as well as professors, can save documents, folders, video footage and more to the base while simultaneously allowing other people to view and share their work.

Many students feel this will promote not only more efficiency with their work in and out of the classroom but a willingness to stay on campus to complete their work. While Shelia Cotten, a professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, said in an article she believes that college students fail to multitask (using technology) in a learning environment, NKU student Matt Hepner said using technology and traditional teaching styles in the classroom will help students greatly.

“Being more technologically up to date can give students a reason to use these things campus has to offer. If the technology on campus is more up to date than the technology in their homes, then it’s obviously an incentive to use what campus has to offer,” he said. “It only becomes a distraction when people get caught up in all of the cool things they can do with this technology.”
According to Margery Rosen, a writer for Scholastic, heavy use of “screen-time,” as many parents call the excessive use of technology, while multitasking will lead the brain to filter out the information it feels is irrelevant.

Rosen said in an article that the brain is much like a computer. Even if a person believes they can handle multiple screens completing tasks, the brain can only handle one at a time. Many people are under the impression that this will hinder student performance in a normal classroom atmosphere.

NKU is not your average university, however. A freshman student, Jessica Finen, said that even her family on the other end of the country is raving about how the school is rising on the college map.
“No one understands why a small community-based school is thriving like it is. You hear something going on there like a movie night in the new building, Griffin Hall, and you want to get involved,” she said. “It makes you want to go there and see what all of the techy stuff is like because this isn’t really available at most schools.”

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