Janelle Kramer, a junior majoring in biology and psychology, reads in a study cube Sunday Sept. 12 in Norlin Library. (CU Independent illustration/Amy Moore-Shipley)
Walk through most college campuses in America and there are students with cell phones and MP3 players in hand. Enter most lecture halls and it’s easy to see that pen and paper have given way to laptops and PDAs.
In a digital age, students are using technology constantly, but not always to their benefit, said many CU students.
“Tech can be useful for communication, especially in the globalization of our world, but we use it more for entertainment,” said 19-year-old environmental biology major Arie Mielkus.
With the globalization of communication technology, it is now possible to talk to someone halfway around the world with Skype and Google video chat. Even Apple’s new iPhone 4G has a video chat feature where callers with the same phone can chat face-to-face.
For students in other regions, programs of that sort can be helpful. However, some students said they believe many of the new technological advances have hurt social interactions.
“We’re losing that connection with people when you can’t verbally connect,” said 20-year-old sociology major D’Ambra Evans. “There are so many avenues to talk.”
Technology is easily accessible for anyone with an Internet connection or even a “smart phone” with wireless capabilities. According to CTIA—the Wireless Association, a non-profit group that tracks cell phone stats and industry trends—at least 91 percent of the American population has a wireless phone.
Manaslu Bista, a 20-year-old women’s studies major, said she is dependent on her phone.
“I need my phone,” Bista said. “I can live without my computer but not without my phone.”
It’s not just the stereotyped, Bluetooth-wearing CEO who’s hooked into media anymore. According to a study released by the Kaiser Family Foundation in 2009, 8 to 18-year-olds spend almost 11 hours a day digesting different media content. This statistic includes not just television and music input, but also computer usage.
Some students said they don’t believe it’s a good idea to try and multitask their way through college classes.
“Our generation is the most technologically dependent and the most adept of recent generations,” said 20-year-old environmental studies major Meghan McCarroll.
McCarroll said she thinks that sometimes students take tech too far and spend time networking when they should be studying.
“It’s not very beneficial to have a laptop in class. I feel I take in information better when I write it,” McCarroll said.
McCarroll wasn’t the only one to notice that multitasking can impair studying. Earlier this year, Paul A. Kirschner, program director of the Learning and Cognition program at the Open University of the Netherlands, published a study in which he examined Facebook use among students.
Kirschner and the researchers who studied students’ ability to multitask came to the conclusion that time spent on Facebook while studying can make a difference in a students’ GPA. According to the study those students who split their attention between studying and Facebook had a lower GPA than those who stayed away from the social networking site. These students who frequently used Facebook also said they felt they were more likely to procrastinate.
Procrastination isn’t the only problem for CU Students, said 20-year-old psychology major Navodita K C.
“[Technology] makes you dependent,” K C said. “I could go to the library and check out books, but I’d rather be on my computer. It’s really accessible.”
Information that students would have had to glean from pages of a dusty book in the library is now only a few clicks away and doesn’t require much brain power to access.
“Now, we can just open a screen and Google it,” Mielkus said. “We’re trying to be better, but it’s making us lazy and we’re losing what makes us human.”
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Ana Faria at Ana.firstname.lastname@example.org.
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