Traditional vs. Digital - School Life Pt. 1

October 17, 2017

 

Technology has changed our everyday lives in many ways, including our education, sources of entertainment, marketing techniques. Many prefer to digitalise their lives, while others prefer to stay traditional. While both has its own strengths and weaknesses, it is up to your personal opinion to decide which you prefer. And thus, the 'war' between tradition and digital culture began.

 

As a student, the first place to start looking for these pros and cons of technology, would be at the place we spend most of our time at: school. Some changes are more obvious than others. For example, whiteboards. We have all seen both the traditional whiteboard, where we use whiteboard pens and erasers, and there are the electronic whiteboards, where you would use a futuristic-looking pen to interact with the screen, connected to your computer. The electronic one would mean that we spend less time watching the teacher write out an entire paragraph of words in deafening silence, or having to spend time looking for another whiteboard pen because the one you have doesn't work. It is also difficult to get back something that is erased since you don't really have an ‘undo button’ for traditional whiteboards. Electronic whiteboards not only have an undo button, but with the right program, you could get different kinds of useful tools. However, like all electronics, those type of whiteboards are hard to connect to and teachers often run into some kind of technological problem, which certainly doesn't happen when you do things the old-fashioned way. It is also hard to see anything projected on the board unless most of the lights are turned off, which means we couldn't see anything else besides the board. Traditional whiteboards are also a great way to quickly write down notes or draw diagrams and then erase it when you've copied it somewhere else. In the end, it all comes down to your personal opinion and the way you use either of them.

 

Paper also comes to mind when you think about any school items that are often digitalised. Whether it is books, taking notes, worksheets or homework, many has changed from printing it out on paper to completely reading/writing it online. Files are easier to locate and share. Why spend time finding that one piece of paper in a pile, when it could be accomplished digitally with the push of a few buttons. While electronic documents can be considered an eco-friendlier approach, many would still prefer the traditional printing method of things. Anything stored electronically could be lost immediately if something goes wrong (power outage, system crash, etc.), where if you write it down, it will be a more reliable way to ‘store’ information since if you are able to keep track of the paper and not lose it, the information would still be there. It is recommended that you store a paper copy of any important files. The work you write on paper are also more customisable than computers, since programs often lack certain ways to modify your work. Due to all of these factors to consider, you would often see both used together in the modern world.

 

Of course, there is also homework. In modern days, there are two main ways teachers receive work from us: by email (or some sort of program/website where you could upload your work) and handing it in in person. When it comes to students, we just do whatever the teacher prefers since we are able to do both easily, so there is not much problem in that part. But when it comes to receiving, some problems appear. First, the traditional face to face way. If someone loses the piece(s) of paper they were supposed to hand in that day, the teacher would still count it as not handing in homework, but if you do it digitally, there would be proof that you had indeed sent the work to the teacher. Work on paper is also harder to duplicate or copy, unless you use a photocopier (which is more digital than traditional). However, digitally handing in homework also has a few problems. Teachers often get way too many emails for them to read every single day, which means sometimes they don’t see your email, and it would be buried in the sea of messages and/or homework. Although this could be solved by searching for the email in the search bar that most programs have, it would still cause some inconvenience. Furthermore, trying to check if everyone had handed in their homework is hard, especially with larger classes. Even if you have a group chat or a class that they could upload their work to, it is still hard to check who did hand in their work and if there is one missing. Of course, there is also the great flaw of technology, crashes and bugs. The choice really depends on the teacher and what homework you're giving in, so both is fine as well.

 

When it comes to the choice of whether you should be modern/futuristic or just stick with the old, but traditional way, is mostly determined by where you use it, how you use it and the personal opinion of the user. Technology has already started to change our everyday lives, and I doubt that it would just stop there. Nowadays, you could spot all these things changed by technology, such as the examples listed above. However, it is still important to keep the traditional ways of doing things. I don’t think that this question of whether we choose traditional or digital culture would ever have a certain answer, since it really comes down to which one you prefer. And this isn’t all the things that has been changed by technology our daily school life. When it comes to education, it is also important to see the teachers’ side of things. So, stayed tuned for more of Traditional vs Digital-School Life!

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