Is Technology Harmful or Helpful for College Students?

By Amanda Joerndt

The growing use of technology in schools and society has been the subject of an ongoing debate discussing whether it is more beneficial or dangerous for students who use it on a daily basis for educational purposes.

Technology has played a huge role in how professors teach their students and run classroom lectures from PowerPoint presentations, videos and even online classes.The use of cell phones, iPads and laptops have thrived within the classroom and have been used as a way of learning in the last decade.

While technology may be faster, more beneficial and easier to use in the educational system, some wonder if is this approach is safer for students and how they are learning certain skills.

Youngstown State University uses technology to their advantage by offering online classes for multiple courses such as general education courses, and specific courses throughout the departments.

Jeffrey Tyus, assistant professor of communication, teaches online and classroom courses.

He said online classes serve a purpose for students who are unable to physically meet for class.

“Some students have jobs, families and children so being in the classroom makes it tough for them,” he said. “We still want to be able to meet the needs of those students who are unable to be in the classroom and that’s clearly a benefit for them.”

He said teaching in-class courses makes him feel connected with his students and is currently trying to find a way to do the same for online courses.

“I make my online students create videos, so I can feel as though I’m seeing them and engaging with them,” he said. “I try as best as I can to get the engagement to occur, but there is limitation right now.”

Tyus said technology use in the classroom is still at an all-time high and does his best to keep his students engaged and off their devices.

Photo by Tanner Mondok/The Jambar

“Students are still on their phones and not paying attention and the end result is not having good  grades,” he said. “That will ultimately lie on the students to put it away, and I call out on people and engage them in questions to refocus them.”

Daniel O’Neill, professor of communication, favors in-class experiences and presentations.

O’Neill said participating in online classes can be hard on students economically and presents a lack of teacher-to-student connection.

“I think there is an economic difference. So if you take a class online, it should not be as expensive,” he said. “You’re not getting the same quality and intensity of instruction as you do in the classroom.”

In O’Neill’s opinion, technology is affecting how students learn to communicate and write.

“One of the things [technology] will change is the way we write. Instead of depth of expression with our thoughts, we will write with bits of information,” he said. “It’s a bad thing when we get so narrow and don’t communicate fully with our experiences and we become less human.”

Many college students rely on the internet and other technology platforms to provide them fast and efficient information on a daily basis.

Lynae Imasa, a freshman psychology major, believes technology can affect relationships, and there are positive and negative viewpoints when using technology on a daily basis.

“In a negative view, some may not show their true self when communicating with technology, and it can be misleading and hurt others,” she said. “On a positive note, one can reach the people they need to in three seconds rather than three days.”

She said professors can influence how students use technology with their school work, while staying updated with their classes.

“I believe teachers can also play a huge part in influencing the students to use technology because of online homework, tests or work that requires the internet,” she said.

Technology has an impact on students and professors at YSU and will continue to be a tool used in the classroom as technology advances each year.