Technology Continues to Change the Face of Higher Learning

The Washington Post recently published an article entitled, "Blogging Clicks with Colleges". In my opinion, it wasn’t a very well-written article. I thought I’d get a lot of information on blog use at the college/university level, but the reporter doesn’t seem to make a very good distinction between blogs and wikis in her article and then ends the by introducing podcasting.

Nevertheless, she does capture the spirit of curious, inquisitive college students who readily embrace and experiment with technology and help to change the face of learning.  I remember my own freshman year at college–it was the first year that my college offered computers and printers in every dorm room and it was also one of the first years that an "Internet" was available to the public.  Literally, at that point in time, there were only hundreds of websites as opposed to the millions that exist today.

I remember my roommate was quite addicted to surfing the very small web and I wondered what in the world she was so interested in.  I had no idea that five years from that point in time, the Internet would explode as one of the most influential business tools of our era, shrinking the size of our world and allowing us to electronically collaborate, shop, and communicate with others around the world in a matter of seconds.

I also remember that same year, students across campus discovered chat rooms.  Many students raved about how much they loved chatting on the "BBC", as it was known.  Being a social creature, I naturally preferred face-to-face or phone communication with my fellow students and wondered why anyone would prefer to hide behind a computer screen to communicate with someone, but I now understand that it was an influential prototype of one way we electonically communicate today.  Hindsight is 20-20, after all.

With so many new technologies available, it’s refreshing to see how colleges and universities are employing them to try and better the learning experience and figure out how they fit into higher learning–experimenting, placing boundaries and revising. It’s a microcosm of what’s going on outside of the classroom.

As many of us had no inkling of just exactly how influential Internet technology would become to society, I’m very curious to see how blogs and wikis change our social fabric and the way we do things.  We have already begun to see an impact, but how far-reaching that impact will be still remains to be seen.

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  1. I remember a sociological study done thirty or so years ago that claimed great thinkers rarely had truly creative ideas past their collage years. The idea was they spent their post collage lives perfecting the creative ideas of their collage years. A great example was Einstein who published his now famous ideas on time and space and matter and energy in 1905 the year of his doctoral thesis. If true the students with their ideas on Wikis and Blogs will be the world changes of the next few year and the future.

  2. The thinhg about the Net is that it evolves constantly, as Jennifer illustrated, and the ingenuity of how people use it and morph it into something else seems endless. As one of the speakers at our recent conferenc put it, the approach you need is: always beginning, never ending.

    What has begun to interest me recently is that the past sociology of organizations is that you only gain influence by longevity and working your way up the ziggurat. But with these forms of communication constantly evolving and young people coming in with new context and experience, organizations need to make use of their perspectives now, not 10 years from now. What they have to offer now is valid.

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