At 12 years old, I was a huge nerd. I spent my library time copying pages from astronomy books, pretending to be Indiana Jones in my back yard, and avidly collecting and reading Popular Science magazines. One day in particular, I remember sitting on my porch swing reading an article that claimed that the Internet, which was relatively new at the time, would be the central hub of future activity. Email was already fairly mainstream, Flight Simulator was all the rage in video games, and the possibilities of this monumental paradigm shift seemed endless. Specifically, the article predicted that in the future, high school and college classes would be conducted on computers, with assignments sent out and submitted via the web. Needless to say, nerdy preteen Erin squealed with glee, cut out the article, and pinned it to the bulletin board above her bed. Today, if I found that article, it would be online, and I’d hit the Facebook “share” button or reblog it on Tumblr. According to Moore’s law, the power of computing doubles every two years, and we see evidence of this when we acknowledge how rapidly and thoroughly the world has changed in the wake of the internet’s invention.
Now, I’m a nerdy 20-something finishing college, and blogging, tweeting, and submitting homework online have all been regular parts of my educational experience for 5 years. In my work as an English major, I use massive online databases to find scholarly sources to incorporate into academic papers. I use Wikipedia for quick-yet-thorough rundowns on any given topic. Rather than spend upwards of $200 on textbooks, I can almost always find textbooks and novels for free in PDF form, or find necessary portions available through Amazon previews. And when I’m sitting in class, I don’t huddle over a spiral notebook scribbling down relevant information- I type a Word file at 80WPM, making my notes searchable, editable, organized, and efficient.
Technology plays a huge role in the life of the college student, for better or for worse. Since we’re all college students, and we’re all surrounded by iPhones and computers and GPS systems, I want to take a look at the issues that arise in a world still adjusting to technology’s waves.