Technology. It is
developed with the intent of making our lives better, from
warming up our frozen lasagna in just a minute to letting us
reach far away relatives with a simple, inexpensive phone call.
It’s quick, convenient, and reliable. It sure sounds
perfect, right? For many of us, of course, it is. (After all,
we live in an age where people rather take the elevator than
the stairs.) We love it, we need it, we depend on it. Sadly,
we depend on it just a little too much, and we all know “Too
much of a good thing can be a bad thing.” Yes, too much
technology can indeed be bad, too.
Although technology’s purpose was to make our lives better,
it has changed, sometimes drastically, some of the things that
make life worth living.
Take the value of learning, for instance. Thousands of schools
have spent millions on “smart classrooms” with high-tech
projection systems, Internet ports on every desk, and technical
devices like the TI-83 calculator. Learning how to use them effectively,
on the other hand, usually seems to be a second priority. Because
of this, technology has made teachers less effective than they
were when they lectured with chalkboards.
PowerPoint presentations, one of today’s newest alternatives
for lectures, have even caused a lot of us to ditch class. With
the mindset that we can just access the lecture online, why should
we spend time watching a teacher read off the same notes?
Simpler things like white boards and overhead transparencies,
however, allow us to be more engaged in the lesson’s material.
Students actually learn more when teachers teach more (rather
than have computers do the teaching.) Students and teachers are
better off without such high-tech gadgets.
Our overdependence on technology has not only dumbed down our
learning methods, but our productivity as well. The Internet
is a perfect example of how people have become less productive.
One reason is that it’s obviously a much easier and quicker
source for researching information. Instead of making a stop
at the public library and going through all those dusty bookshelves,
why not just google the topic online? All we have to do is sit
on our comfy chairs, type some words, and work the mouse. How
tiring. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of the Internet
and its search engines, but they honestly discourage me from
moving off my seat. And if we paid attention to what our teachers
and librarians actually tell us about what resources are available,
online and on paper, we might actually save time and learn more.
Consider another example: Since so many businesses are moving
to the Internet, the idea of “shop till you drop” may
soon mean falling asleep over a keyboard in front of a screen.
But where’s the fun in that? I mean, aren’t those
cute bargain outfits we get to try on worth getting our feet
tired? Isn’t that Christmas present for a little brother
worth waiting in those long lines?
Well, maybe not all the time, but at least it gets us out to
the mall. Besides shopping and researching, the Internet is constantly
giving us more reasons to sit on our chairs and be less productive.
Entertainmentwise, we’ve got our movies, music, and news.
Socially, we’ve got Myspace, Friendster, and these silly
matchmaker Web sites where we can supposedly find “our
one true love.” Apparently, technology now even controls
romance, as well as every other aspect of our lives. How sad.
Our generation has become too dependent on technology, and as
a result, it’s made us lazier, less productive, and even
vulnerable. In times of power shortages and blackouts, it’s
disappointing to see how many people literally go crazy because
they can’t watch their TV soap opera or get access to the
Net. When people lose their cell phones, they act like they’ve
lost their entire life line!
We tend to forget that millions of people before us learned to
not only survive without technical contraptions, but have excelled
without them. More importantly, we forget that life is not about
finding shortcuts to our goal, but about experiencing the bumpy
roads we traveled to get where we are.