Overeliance on technology can hinder learning

Katrina Meyer, News Editor

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The move to incorporate technology into homework for students is a great idea. We can find information faster, get immediate feedback, and save paper. We also have access to a lot of opportunities that did not exist before personal computers. We can search for old newspaper articles online, we can fact-check anything when we have a question, or we can quickly translate languages we do not understand into English.

But at the same time, it is possible to take things too far when it comes to technology. While it has its benefits, overeliance on computers for doing homework is a problem. After realizing on a Sunday night that my eyes were sore because I spent the last 10 hours staring at my computer, I started thinking about the consequences of too much screen time.

Aside from the obvious back pain that comes from hunching over a screen all day and the eye soreness that comes from too much time staring at the bright light of the screen, it feels weird to not have a hard copy of a reading on which to follow along. We still certainly have plenty of textbooks to read, but there are more and more online readings being assigned. It gets hard to focus as you stare endlessly at a screen, and it gets easier to lose your place. You also cannot take notes the same way, and you do not get the satisfaction of turning pages and being able to feel how many pages you have left in your hand.

To combat these problems, lots of teachers will request that students print off the readings and bring them to class. That is not always possible. We all have a set amount of money that we can spend on printing. It is not possible to print off long readings for multiple classes regularly on top of essays and other things we turn in for all of our classes. So most of us decide to rely instead on the computer screen.

I think that it would be beneficial to have an easier way to get readings on paper. Perhaps teachers should give handouts during class or Luther should give students more money to print things. With either of the two options, there could be a vast improvement in learning. Being able to highlight and take notes along the way helps retain information. It also makes it easier to go back and review what you read for an essay or an exam and means that students are able to do their homework in places that do not have the internet access or an outlet nearby.

All of these add up to some important benefits for students. Obviously, reduction in screen time is not always possible, but any reduction that can be made is for the better. In a generation in which students are frequently criticized for the amount of time that we spend staring at our devices, I think that reducing the time that we actually have to stare at devices is a marked improvement.

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