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Opinion by Rhonelee Asuncion Soria

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.




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