Our youth are heavily addicted to mobile phones. Covid-19 has led to excessive use of cellphones and internet for everything. Sometimes this usage is justified. However, our emphasis on using technology in college has sidelined students. “Google it” has become a new normal in the classroom. We were already struggling with the dying habit of asking questions among students. Whenever a teacher finds themselves at sea by asking if they’ve ever been asked by students, he or she snubs them and triumphantly advises them to google the question.
Now students turn to search engines on the Internet to get answers to their questions. The pandemic has turned college students into digital addicts. Obviously, the result is that they are biased and closed off from dialogue and discussion because of their self-constructed opinions. Another disadvantage is that they get lost in a sea of information. You must remember that this is the age of expertise. As the saying goes, a jack of all trades is a master at nothing.
Her wanderlust for new information in social media and search engines decentralizes her focus on her respective field of study. As a result, they become “information nomads”. Neil Gaiman perfectly describes what is happening in the digital age: “Google can bring you back 100,000 answers, a librarian can bring you back the right one.” Such students with lots of information on divergent topics irrelevant to their professional studies do not achieve their professional goal.
The unbridled use of technology has turned dialogue and communicative interaction between teachers and students into an endangered species, more likely to be on the verge of extinction. A short memory span and a slow interface between the mind and the nudge of the moment are common ailments that students cling to. Students under the mirage of half-knowledge imagine themselves to be above the council. Her know-it-all mentality makes her overbearing towards her teachers and parents.
Even parents brag about their tech-savvy kids, unaware that their kids will be swept away from their painted goals. It is a paradox that despite multiple sources of knowledge (mobile phones, computers, tablets, laptops, e-books, audio books, learning apps, video lectures, virtual academies), students still perform poorly in their studies. Mediocrity among students, in their studies and achievements, is a consequence of this forbearance.
As a remedy, individuals and educators at the top of the education system and institutions should create and encourage a question-friendly environment in the classroom, be it physical or virtual. You have to use a Socratic method to bring different concepts home. The curricula should be revised and designed in such a way that students and teachers are polemicized on various topics. Educated parents should ask their children simple questions during family time. Healthy discussion empowers the mind to represent opposing ideas. This way, students stay focused on their studies. Otherwise, self-study and self-made pictures, supported by artificial intelligence, without any discussion, would produce robotic and biased minds.