Academia can’t afford TechnoHitlers and/or TechnoPhobics anymore. As operating budgets are being cut and the need for recruiting and to to give good student treatment increases, so is the need to TechnoModerate. The need to educate students with technology yet maintaining an acceptable level of emphatic communication behavior is indeed a pressing need in 21st century American education.
Professors who are anti-technology and believe that technology shouldn’t be implemented in schools might as well change their careers or simply retire. It would be a disservice to students and a poor allocation of both private and state funds to keep faculty members who are either knowingly incompetent or unwilling to adopt technique in their courses. We don’t live in 1991 anymore, people. We live in the age where the Pads reign, where learning management systems can and indeed do make our lives easier (as long as they work)… a time in history where students can work at their own pace out of the classroom yet acquiring a college education. The new media revolution is here to stay. Embrace it or you will be left behind.
Wait a minute, TechnoHitlers. This doesn’t mean that we should replace faculty with machines, do whatever is required to make all our courses as technologically advanced as possible at all costs, or discourage anyone to deviate from printing a document on paper. This is unwise as good human communication not only help to recruit students — it is also critical to keep them! Communication is key! Empathy is key! How much technology one needs to use in order to be empathetic, by the way?
One more things technoHitlers… It is a not a good idea to impose technology use on anyone as too much technology can in fact backfire on you and cause eye strain, technostress, and in some causes clinical depression or anxiety. So, let me ask you this — How good is the “Let’s use technology at all costs” if your faculty members now have more medical problems to deal with due to technique? Isn’t that going to make university’s health insurance higher? Do professors are more productive when they are healthy or sick? You might be saying — Yes but who needs professors if we have technology? Let me answer this question to you publicly. 1) Students. When students are passing though difficult times, they want to speak with an empathetic faculty member. 2) The university. Governance can’t be don without people. 3) Your stakeholders. Without faculty and staff, your town deteriorates. Don’t believe me? Take a look at Flint Michigan. Do you want more? Do you see TechnoHitlers, your extreme ideology is as toxic as the ideology of the TechnoPhobics.
STOP TechnoPhobics tenured faculty members! Don’t come to me and say, “But hey, I am tenured and I have the academic freedom to do whatever I like in my classroom.” Hmmm… TechnoPhobic, you have all the rights to believe in whatever you like but you won’t work in a department I chair for too long. In fact, I bet you won’t last too long in the profession because in academia, especially these days, we are to do what is best for the students not necessarily what is best for you. Remember, a department without students isn’t a department. Avoiding technology is not only a mistake but a death sentence to any PhD these days. Adopt some or get out.
What is my proposal? As I always say, “Use Technology but in moderation. Be a TechnoModerator!” Embrace technology with reason. Why not use a Content Management System to help teach your classes? Of course this assumes that the tool you are given works. If your organization is having issues with it, create your own system. The former is too good of a technique to be ignored. Develop tutorials, podcasts perhaps. These are overall good and moderate use of technology in the classroom. Don’t require all students to use everything “technology.” Some students read better on paper. Give them the option to read the course content on paper. Adopt socratic methods to help students to think critically. Ask students to work in groups and solve problems with a paper and pencil in their hands to help them to use group thinking as a means to produce once in a while. Encourage interpersonal communication in class! Don’t make all the assignments dependent on using technology! Make some but not all. Moderation people. Is it that complicated to understand?