Sunday, November 6, 2011

Could Northwestern Students and Professors Do Their Jobs Without Computers?

            In Silicon Valley, the heart of technological innovation in the United States, one well-esteemed school has decided to entirely remove computers and other forms of modern technology from its classrooms and curriculum. At the Waldorf School of the Peninsula, There are no screens to be found. Instead, the school focuses its curriculum around a more tactile experience, with physical tasks such as learning fractions by cutting up cakes. The school even discourages the use of computers at home. The school and its students aren’t exactly “anti-technology,” in fact, many of the students are children of famous Silicon Valley CEOs, they just believe that learning technology can wait. 
            Although the Waldorf School consistently posts impressive data regarding test scores and graduation rates, the Waldorf School is certainly in the minority with this approach. While this school has decided to completely remove computers, other schools are pushing fervently to become more tech-savvy, even bragging about their new state-of-the-art “smart” classrooms. 
            At Northwestern University, technology is everywhere, heavily integrated into the whole educational experience. It is common to be in class and see more than half of the students taking notes on their laptops. Professors often teach from PowerPoint presentations and communicate to us through email. Professors use Blackboard to post digital documents, create discussion boards, and post grades. It is common for students to spend hours on Blackboard, checking it multiple times a day. A Northwestern University without technology is hard to imagine. It makes you wonder: could Northwestern students and professors do their jobs without computers? 

Kevin Yuen
Undergrad IMC student
Twitter: @kevinyuen650

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