Dixie Forum focuses on benefits of technology use for education

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The Dixie Forum on Sept. 16 featured a Dixie State University student who shared his insights on technology in education.

Kai Anderson, a junior computer science major from St. George, addressed a handful of students, faculty and staff and community members. Anderson shared with the audience how technology can be beneficial to both students and faculty and staff.

Communication assistant professor Eric Young said he embraces the use of technology in the classroom.

Education was created to produce a workforce in the 1930s, Young said. The country has advanced, but the education system has not, and that is a problem.

Anderson took a moment during his lecture to put into perspective just how influential technology is in the lives of today’s students.

He said children born in 1995 have never known a world without cell phones.

“Those kids are college students now,” Anderson said. “Those kids – are us.” 

The society we live in is so fast-paced that it is hard to just sit and listen, Anderson said. If teachers would allow, even encourage, students to use their mobile devices, it could improve overall engagement. There are multiple apps that are education-based that are helpful to students, rather than distracting.

Notability is an app that allows you to take notes on your tablet during class, Anderson said. You can type, draw, attach or take a photo, embed info from the web and record an audio version of the lecture. 

“I would be listening to the lecture while reviewing my own notes,” Anderson said. “It’s like a triple attack. You really nail down the information this way.” 

There is a speed-reader app that allows you to copy and paste a section of text into the program, set the words per minute reading rate and then “spreed,” Anderson said.

“If you sat a book in front of me, I would lose my place and get distracted, but when it is coming at me one word at a time, it is easier to digest,” He said.

Apps aren’t the only educational resources for students, Anderson said. Plenty of resources can be found on the Internet, too.

Bridging the gap between teachers not wanting students to use technology during class and students using technology is crucial, Anderson said. Anderson thinks as teachers become more aware of the resources that technology offers there will be improvement.

Technology is a constructivist channel. It encourages creation, which is what the education system needs, Young said. Using technology during class allows students to search the lecture topic and increase their understanding and knowledge.

“A lot of teachers don’t want technology in the classroom because it is smarter than them,” Young said. “Even if not all of the students are using technology for good, I am not going to shut down that constructivist channel for those that are. What teachers need to focus on is being engaging enough that students don’t lose interest in them and resort to finding their information or entertainment elsewhere.” 

It might be hard for students to convey that they are using their technology for good, Young said. 

If you are going to use technology in class, just follow what the teacher says about technology use in his/her syllabus, said Chase Burch, a freshman biology major from Visalia, California. 

“I don’t use technology in all of my classes,” Burch said. “I only use it when the teachers are OK with it.”

Classes are offered every month at the Apple campus store, located on the second floor of the Gardner Center, on how to use technology effectively in the classroom, Anderson said.

Classes take place on the fourth Thursday of each month (except Thanksgiving) in conference room B at 4 p.m.