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Has Technology Become More Than Just a Supplement?

Pro and Con of four popular learning devices

1

Online Math Problem Solvers (Slater, Mathaway, Desmos, Wolphram Alpha Math)

Pro:

When students are uncertain about homework questions, online calculators allow them to check their work and keep up with the math lesson. Students who struggle to comprehend the answers provided in their book are able to see the worked out version of the problem.

Con:

Students become less motivated to work out their own homework problems, and copy the worked-out solutions. They take advantage and misuse the technology, which ends up impeding their learning.

 

2

Online Reading Guides (i.e. Spark Notes, LitCharts, Shmoop)

Pro:

When students are confused on or misconstrue passages of literature, online book guides clarify the plot. Many times, students have no idea how to start their analysis in essays and end up doing the assignment last minute. Student utilize resources like SparkNotes to instigate a flow of ideas for their analysis.

Con:

Students are less inclined to generate their own work and end up–either intentionally or accidentally–plagiarizing the works of others.  Online study guides discourage them from thinking critically and creatively on their own.

3

Facebook Study Groups

Pro: 

Students have a better line of communication that  allows them to share resources. Students can easily retrieve misplaced homework or worksheets.  Absent students can also easily access the classwork they missed.

Con:

Facebook is a distraction to their learning process and it obstructs their concentration. Students can get off track and post irrelevant topics that detract the focus of others. It also provides an outlet for students to misuse the answers provided by a peer.

 

4

Unprivated Quizlets

Pro: 

The online flashcards provide instant access to information efficiently, when students are too busy with their schoolwork. Students don’t lose precious sleeping time.

Con:

Students strip their answers from the Internet, but never actually bother thoroughly reading and retaining the information.

 

By Lisa Shen, Opinion editor


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