Response to Richard Miller’s Presentation
I recently attended Richard Miller, Executive Director of the Plangere Writing Center and Paul Hammond’s, Director of Digital Initiatives for Rutgers Undergraduate Education presentation entitled “This is How We Write: Knowledge Work in the Web 2.0 World.” I found this talk to be extremely informative and useful, since technology is a force that needs to be embrace rather than ignored. Many educators chose to disregard the current trend of the ever-growing technology that is adored amongst the young generations, but if this technology can be utilized for educational purposes, why not take advantage of it? This is the exact standpoint that Miller and his colleague Hammond had, which I completely agree with.
The presentation consisted of three parts, and began with “This is How We Dream,” which identified the hopes of educators, specifically at the collegiate level. Richard and Paul offered the audience a look at a high-tech, interactive textbook that can be purchased on an I-pad for a very small sum. It was unbelievable; when you touched specific parts of the textbook, it would open up into interviews, statistics, weather updates, and much more. The most beneficial aspect of this electronic textbook was the fact that it was paperless. The length of the actual print version was not supplied for us, but lets just consider this idea. Textbooks range in length from 10 pages to 400, and as college students, usually we only need a portion of the text, not the whole book. Therefore, with the accessibility to search particular words and arrive at the section of the textbook that is necessary for an assignment, this new textbook is much more efficient. Rather than flipping through page after page searching for a particular diagram, students can just simply type in the information they need, and will arrive at it instantly. Not to mention, how cost efficient is this new technology? Although universities have been improving the textbooks required for courses, I have still had to purchase new textbooks for a semester since it changes each year and the book from the previous year would not be useful. If these textbooks were available through different electronic devises, then students could rent an online access code to access the most recent publication of a book for the small amount of time they need it. This will be beneficial for the students and overall, since a lot less trees will be wasted.
It became evident through the presentation that if technology were to be utilized correctly, then the benefits would definitely outweigh the risky outcomes. Although there are countless examples of students who sit on their phone or facebook during class, there is a possibility that the correct usage of this new technology could forever alter education for the better. Miller and Hammond offered an example of a hybrid approach to a research which allowed students to upload their research papers on a website where other students could comment and offer words of advice. This type of collaboration is not usually seen in such an assignment, and could not really be completed without technology. Through the technology, there became an enhancement of information with video, articles, interviews, etc. Although we may be losing the nostalgia that comes will quieting the mind and entering into a book without any distractions, the benefits of technology must be embraced.
Miller and Hammond thoroughly addressed the question that educators continue to ask themselves, “How can technology be used in the classroom where the positives outweigh the negatives?” They offered both the negatives and positives of technology in today’s educational setting and allowed the audience to reach their own conclusion. Observably, after viewing Miller and Hammond’s presentation, I have concluded that technology should be used in the classroom. I mean, how else would we interact as tutors on readings and such with no meeting time or place without our own blog? This technology has enhanced our roles as tutors by allowing us to communicate with one another.