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How Has Technology Changed Education and our


Robin Lynch-Woodley
Spring 2015
Western Oregon University

Technology has changed how we do everything. The world we live in
today looks very different than it did even 20 years ago. Every aspect of our
lives has been changed as a result of technology. Everything from education
to medicine has been affected by technology. In fact, children today have
grown up with technology and to them it is just a normal part of daily life.
However, not everyone has embraced the changes that technology has
brought to our lives and not everything about it has been a positive change.
In this paper, we will look at how technology has both enhanced and
complicated our lives.

Education has become computer dominate
First, let’s look at education and how much it has been changed with
technology. Technology has changed the way we do and teach everything
from the elementary level through college. More and more of teaching and
learning is technology based. Computers are used to record grades and
create lesson plans and to communicate with parents. Schools use email as
a primary way to contact colleagues and administrators. Parents can
connect to the schools website and instantly see their child’s grades, any
missing assignments, attendance records, as well as if they have been tardy
to class, all without contacting the school or teachers. This is drastically
different than the old way of only knowing when report cards came out and
only speaking to teachers during conferences. Educators also use email to
communicate important information to parents and the reverse. If parents

have questions, they can send an email any time of day or night. Schools
are so dependent on computers and technology today that they are when
the power goes out or the computer network goes down, schools are left
scrambling. However, when instructors use technology, they need to be
aware of the potential hindrances technology can bring to the learning
process, (Klaus, 2014)

SMART Boards, Power Point Presentations and Internet
Part of the crippling is due to increased use of technology for teaching.
Educators use SMART Boards, document cameras and computers to enhance
learning and increase student interest. Showing a student a concept instead
of just telling them is crucial to long term success. More districts are using
curriculums that have an online component also. Also more and more
assessments and high-stakes testing are done on the computer.

Online Education and E-Learning
Online learning is increasing in schools of all types across the United
States. Students in many parts of the country now have choices when it
comes to e-learning. The options include full-time, private virtual schools;
state-sponsored virtual schools; supplemental online learning courses offered
by traditional brick-and-mortar schools; and charter schools, (Wicks, 2010).
At the same time, a growing number of students have access to online
courses in their traditional schools. Schools are tapping into e-learning for a

variety of reasons. Some schools say it saves money and allows them to
offer a wider variety of courses, including Advanced Placement classes,
(Wicks, 2010). Other schools insist that online learning can help with
scheduling conflicts that occur when a face-to-face class is provided only at a
time when a student already has other obligations. In addition, online
courses can provide highly qualified or expert teachers for classes otherwise
not offered by a school, (Wicks, 2010). This is also very important for smaller
schools, especially in rural areas, that might not have the staff to provide
students with all the elective classes or higher level classes that are needed,
(Wicks, 2010). All of these are benefits to students should be addressed at
all levels of learning.
The International Association for K-12 Online Learning which is also
known as iNACOL, has estimated that more than 1.5 million students in
kindergarten through grade twelve were engaged in some form of online or
blended learning in the 2009-10 school year, (Wicks, 2010). At the end of
2010, supplemental or full-time online learning opportunities were available
in at least 48 of 50 states, plus the District of Columbia, (Wicks, 2010). One
of the fastest growing areas of online learning is credit recovery. This means
providing students with an alternative path to getting the credits they need
to graduate. These online courses allow students to retake classes they
haven’t been successful in, but in a new and different format and often at
their own pace, (Wicks, 2010).

Online Testing
Oregon Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (OAKS) is still the website
where testing is administered, but this year things have changed drastically.
In the past, students would have up to three chances to take the state test
and pass it. This would allow for students to have an off day and be able to
re-take the test. Students also used to know instantly if they have met the
standard or not. There was a magical number that was required to pass or
meet the standard and another number to exceed the standard. However,
this year, students were given a test referred to as Smarter Balance. It is a
multi-part test that no longer has all multiple choice answers. Instead,
students must use words and numbers to explain their answers and they are
only given one chance. In addition, no test scores will be received until
sometime in the fall of 2015. This is a result of the adoption of Common
Core Standards that most states have started using in recent years.
Technology hasn’t just changed education but it has also changed
medicine drastically. That includes how we train people in medicine also.
Computer simulators and new technology have changed almost every aspect
of medicine.

The Internet has become a main source of medical

In recent years more and more people are going online to check
symptoms, explore treatment options and get educated, (Krueger, 2010). In
fact, in 2009 more than 24 million Americans went online to find information
on their health or the health of a loved one. While the internet will never
replace a visit to the doctor, it does give patients access to more information
than ever before, (Krueger, 2010). The Internet has empowered patients to
assist medical professionals in making important health care decisions and
about what the next step in their care, should be, (Krueger, 2010). Currently,
some medical professionals are encouraging patients to explore online
before their next appointment. This empowerment is making patients and
doctors partners in care, (Krueger, 2010).

Healthcare facilities are reaching patients using social
It started out on college campuses but has recently started spreading
to other health care facilities, (Krueger, 2010). Right now, hospitals are
mostly using social media, but the possibilities are endless. With more and
more people joining Facebook and Twitter, it would make sense to use these
to reach potential patients, (Krueger, 2010). Some ways that social media is
being used is to establish contact with patients, answer questions about
practices, launch public service campaigns, and community outreach,
(Krueger, 2010). There are even reports of some more advanced systems
that are reminding people that they are in need of important tests or

immunizations, (Krueger, 2010). In the future, it could be possible to chat
with a nurse online about symptoms before ever calling the office for an

Improved patient care and work efficiency
More and more health care facilities are moving to digital records,
(Krueger, 2010). This has made patient care safer than ever before and
more reliable. Medical professionals use hand held computers to input
information, (Krueger, 2010). Then vitals, lab results and medicine are
automatically uploaded into a central database. This makes data available
to researchers and will lead to even better treatment. Electronic records also
allow patients access to their information and can help them better
understand their healthcare needs, (Krueger, 2010). This also reduces the
risk of errors from reading a doctor’s handwriting or notes.

Online databases can accurately predict medical trends
This was one of the biggest surprises of information technology.
Google was able to take information from searched for terms and not only
determine where the flu was currently active, but also where it was likely
spreading next, (Krueger, 2010). This information was more accurate and
faster than the Center for Disease Control, (Krueger, 2010). This will also
allow doctors and health care facilities to be prepared and respond to

outbreaks. It will also allow them to take preventative measures. (Krueger,

The Negative Effects of Technology
Not all the changes have been positive though. Current educators
have seen a dramatic change in student behaviors over the last decade. In
fact, the impact on our social, mental, physical and environmental health can
be devastating if we don’t keep ourselves in check, (Holsale, 2013). The
following explores some of these negative effects.

Increased Exasperation and Lack of Patience
These days, children indulge themselves in internet, games or texting
often for hours at a time. These activities have affected their psyche
negatively and have led to increased frustration, (Hudson, 2013). Now they
get frustrated and furious over little things like parents asking them to do
something like take out the garbage while playing games or using the
internet, (Hudson, 2013). It also makes learning harder because they get so
use to being entertained online that they are expecting that same level at
school and when they don’t get it, some students act out, while others shut
down completely.
Patience is a very important skill to develop, (Hudson, 2013). It is
necessary to have it when facing the hardships of life, (Hudson, 2013).
Children today live in a world of instant gratification. For example, children

get frustrated quickly when they are online and the page they want to view
takes time to load, (Hudson, 2013). Students are also less like to stick with
something when it gets hard in order to succeed.

Decreased Writing Skills
The excessive use of online chatting, texting and shortcuts, has taken
a toll on the writing skills. They don’t know the spelling of different words,
how to use grammar properly or how to do cursive writing, (Martin). The
simple act of hand writing anything is almost unheard of now. Most children
today use electronics to communicate almost exclusively and prefer it that
way. In fact, according to the 2011 Nielson statistics, teenagers send and
receive around 3,700 texts a month (Williamson, 2012). This equals out to
about 125 texts a day and that doesn’t include other popular apps like
Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and other sites that students visit on
a daily basis. Students repeatedly use improper grammar and language on
these sites and in some cases it becomes such a habit, that it is difficult to
write a proper complete sentence in school.

Lack of Physical Interactivity/Obesity
Today, more and more people are interacting with others through
different platforms like apps, role-playing online games, texting, social
networks, social media, etc. This advancement has hampered the physical

interaction skills of many children and adults. This has led to less time spent
being active or exercising which can also lead to obesity, (Holsale, 2013).
Obesity is a serious problem that is getting worse all the time. “Since
the 1980’s the prevalence of obesity has doubled to 30% of the adult
population,” (Evans, 2012). In fact, in 2008 there were 12.5 million or about
17% of the nations’ children between the ages of 2 and 19 are obese not just
overweight. This means that they have a body that is made up of at least
30% fat, (Evans, 2012).

Isolation/Lack of Social Skills
Social isolation is characterized by a lack of contact with other people
in normal daily living, such as, the workplace, with friends and in social
activities, (Holsale, 2013). We isolate ourselves by walking around in our
own little world, listening to our iPods or staring at the screen of mobile
device even when we are around other people. In fact, studies have shown
that socially isolated people live shorter lives, (Holsale, 2013). The use of
online social media outlets causes us to meet face-to-face with much less
frequency resulting in a lack of much needed social skills, (Holsale, 2013).
We lose the ability to read body language and social cues in other people,
(Holsale, 2013).


Technology creates the perfect recipe for depression with the lack of
human contact, overeating and lack of exercise, (Holsale, 2013). This could
be part of the reason the use of antidepressants is on the rise and can’t be
completely blamed on pharmaceutical companies because these companies
aren’t making people go to the doctor and forcing pills on them, (Holsale,
2013). We know that depression is a very real problem that affects millions
of people. However, research suggests that living a healthier lifestyle could
help with the symptoms of depression, (Holsale, 2013).

Poor Sleep Habits
Another one of the negative effects of technology is its link to sleep
habits, (Holsale, 2013). We get sucked into online activities that keep us up
too late and the constant stream of information can make it difficult to turn
off our brains, (Holsale, 2013). Also, the ambient glow from screens can
affect the release of melatonin, the chemical that helps you sleep, (Holsale,
2013). When children don’t get enough sleep, it can affect every aspect of
their lives. These might include their attention span, behavior, performance
in school, and even their health may suffer (Uttley, 2012). It also has been
shown that computer use can alter body chemistry in ways that make it
tough to get to sleep (Uttley, 2012).

Pollution and Higher Energy Consumption

With the rapid-changing world of electronics and technology, the
turnover rate for upgrades is staggering. This constant stream of out with the
old, in with the new is adding to the levels of toxicity in our air and land. Ewaste is not always disposed of properly, causing deadly chemicals to leach
into the ground.
Although individual devices are becoming more energy efficient, the
increased overall use is causing a higher consumption of energy. People
don’t turn their devices off and they keep computers on and plugged in.

Increased Bullying/Lack of Privacy
Technology has caused an increase in bullying and has escalated the
severity, (Holsale, 2013). Kids are no longer able to escape their tormentors
once they reach the safety of their own homes because of social media,
(Holsale, 2013). It is also easier to get more kids involved in bullying
because people are more likely to say things online that they wouldn’t say in
person, (Holsale, 2013). This increase in cyber-bullying has caused an
increase in teen suicides in recent years, (Holsale, 2013).
The internet has also removed privacy from the world, (Holsale, 2013).
Gone are the days of having an unlisted telephone number and staying
offline to keep your information safe from prying eyes, (Holsale, 2013). With
a few flicks of the keyboard, the average person can find anyone’s address
and contact information, (Holsale, 2013). In addition, if someone has

milieus intent, they can use phishing, viruses and hacking helps to find any
information they wish to obtain, (Holsale, 2013)

Higher Level of Deceit and Warped Sense of Reality
On the flip side of having no privacy, people use the internet to
deceive others, (Holsale, 2013). Most people don’t dig very deep when doing
research on someone. By creating a few false profiles, people are able to
pretend to be whoever they want, (Holsale, 2013).
Using the internet as an escape from real life is very easy to do,
(Holsale, 2013). In real life you only speak to a few people each day, there’s
no Photoshop or avatar for the reflection in your mirror, bills must be paid
and saying smarty pants things is frowned upon (Holsale, 2013). However,
online you are a rock star and there is almost no limit, (Holsale, 2013). You
have enough friends to form a small country, you look great in your pictures
and you are rewarded for saying clever things, even if they are mean
spirited, (Holsale, 2013). Unfortunately, we must live in the real world
whether we like it or not, (Holsale, 2013).

Health Issues
Constantly being “plugged in” and “connected” causes an extra layer
of stress that wasn’t present before the overuse of technology, (Holsale,
2013). It is also causing poor posture which is leading to all kinds of other

issues including reduced lung capacity of up to, headaches, neurological
issues, depression and heart disease (Bever, 2014).
Tendonitis of the thumb, a.k.a. Blackberry/iPhone Thumb, is a form of
repetitive strain injury caused by the frequent use of thumbs to press
buttons on mobile devices or video games. Looking down at devices
repeatedly can cause neck pain and over time can cause the neck to lose its
natural curve. Recently there was an article in The Washington Post that
described “text neck” as an epidemic, (Bever, 2014). According to the
article, the human head weighs about 12 pounds, but this weight increases
as the neck bends forward and down, which increases the weight on the
cervical spine. “At a 15 degree angle, the weight increases to 27 pounds, at
30 degrees it’s 40 pounds, at 45 degrees it’s 49 pounds and at 60 degrees it
is 60 pounds (Bever, 2014). This is equal to carrying the average 8 year old
child around your neck for several hours a day, (Bever, 2014). Smartphone
users spend an average of two to four hours per day hunched over their
phones doing such things as checking email, answering texts and looking at
social media sites, (Bever, 2014). All that looking down really adds up. In
fact, researchers estimate that between 700 to 1,400 hours a year people
are putting stress on their spines. Experts are issuing warning that this extra
strain can cause muscle strain and soreness, pinched nerves, herniates disks
and over time, can remove the neck’s natural curve, which can lead to the
need for surgery, (Bever, 2014). The staring at screens can also cause

eyestrain which can lead to headaches, blurred vision and migraines,
(Holsale, 2013).
Children are using technology more now than ever before, (Holsale,
2013). All of the negative effects on adults are far greater when it comes to
the developing minds of children, (Holsale, 2013). There is no way to know
what the long term effects will be because this is the first generation to have
unlimited access, (Holsale, 2013). We do know that technology causes
people to suffer from a variety of mental and emotional disturbances, such
as anxiety, phobias and delusions, (Holsale, 2013). These are all symptoms
of neurosis. Being convinced you’re very ill after looking up strange diseases
on WebMD or thinking you are famous because you have had a viral video
are a couple ways in which technology neurosis manifests itself, (Holsale,
2013). Additionally, using headphones and ear buds inappropriately over
and over again can cause hearing loss. Likewise, straining your eyes looking
at computer and device screens can cause people to need glasses much
earlier in life, (Holsale, 2013).

Lack of Social and Sexual Boundaries
Much in the same way that people over share on social media sites,
there is an increasing tendency to cross social boundaries, (Holsale, 2013).
Cyber stalking someone or sending unsolicited nude photos are examples of
grossly crossing social boundaries. Exposure to sexual content is more likely

to happen at a much younger age, (Holsale, 2013). There is a chance to be
exposed every time a search is made on a computer, tablet, or smartphone.

Lack of Social Bonds and Constant Distraction
Creating a lasting bond with other people requires face-to-face
interaction. The more we isolate ourselves with technology the fewer bonds
we will form in real-life, (Holsale, 2013).
When we are focused on a device instead of what’s going on around us
we miss a great deal. There is also a rise in the number of injuries incurred
by people texting while walking. In fact, some places have resorted to the
use preventative measures, like wrapping poles, in order to keep people from
getting hurt.

Shortened Attention Span and Addiction
The use of social media has shortened our attention span from about
12 minutes to 5 minutes, (Holsale, 2013). Constant bombarding of
information, from news feeds, social media and videos that are 10 minutes or
less has literally rewired our brains, (Holsale, 2013). People who are online an
average of 5 hours a day have trouble remembering even basic information
like people’s names, pots on the stove or even their own birthdays, (Holsale,
2013). In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends a maximum
of 1-2 hours of “screen time” per day for children, (Fals, 2013). The

American Academy of Pediatrics has estimated that the average child can
spend upwards of 7 hours of TV, internet usage and video games per day,
(Fals, 2013). This is having a significant effect on children today.
People are not only dependent on technology they are also addicted to
it, (Holsale, 2013). Studies have shown that when cell phones are taken
away people heard or felt fathom vibrations, continuously reached for
phones that weren’t there and became fidgety and restless, (Holsale, 2013).
These are similar to withdrawal symptoms from doing drugs, (Holsale, 2013).

Lack of Empathy/More Violence
The constant stream of violent scenes on video games, TV, movies and
YouTube causes people to become desensitized to destruction of any kind,
(Holsale, 2013). The normalizing of bad things happening and the culture of
narcissism created by social media creates a society of people who lack
empathy and this creates a whole new set of problems, (Holsale, 2013).
When people stop caring and are accustomed to violence, it becomes the
social norm, (Holsale, 2013). Teenage girls are videoing themselves violently
beating other girls and the number of school shootings is increasing and
there are more videos of people attacking homeless people are just a few
examples of violent behaviors caused by media, (Holsale, 2013).
Technology has changed almost every aspect of our lives and has
made our lives easier, (DeLoatch, 2015). We can instantly communicate with
each other and can instantly find information on our phone. Students can

look up information online without ever having to set foot in a library or open
a book and have tremendous opportunities to learn and connect using
technology, (DeLoatch, 2015). However, technology has also added
complications to our lives. Constantly being plugged in has added more
stress. It is difficult to separate home and work now because of smart
phones and lap tops. It is also something that we are constantly checking.
Our phones have become an iatrical part of our lives. As we continue to
adapt to an ever changing world, we will need to find better ways to unplug
with technology and reconnect with each other.

Works Cited
Bever, L. (2014, November 20). "Text neck" is becoming and 'epidemic' and could
wreck your spine. The Washington Post.
DeLoatch, P. (2015, May 2). The Four Negative Sides of Technology. Retrieved from
Edudemic connecting education and technology:
Evans, T. (2012, 04 01). Obseity vs. Technology. Retrieved 06 02, 2015
Fals, A. (2013, 08 09). Childhood Obesity & Technology- What's the connection?
Retrieved 05 20, 2015, from State of Health The Florida Hospital Blog:
Holsale, S. (2013, June 8). 25 Negative Effects of Technology. Retrieved 2014, from
Roo Girl:
Hudson, D. (2013, June 4). 4 Negative Side Effects Technology is Having on
Children. Retrieved from Relevant Children's Ministry:

Klaus, J. (2014). Negative Effects of Using Technology in Today's Classroom.
Retrieved from Demand Media:
Krueger, A. (2010, December 20). 6 Ways Technology is Improving Healthcare.
Retrieved June 2014, from Business Insider:
Martin, A. (n.d.). The 4 Negative Side Effects Of Technology. Retrieved April 2014,
from Edudemic:
Uttley, C. (2012, March 20). Is Your Children's Computer Time Effecting Their Sleep
Patterns? Retrieved May 15, 2015, from HowStuffWorks:
Wicks, M. (2010). A National Primer on K-12 Online Learning. Evergreen Education
Williamson, K. (2012, 03 06). 5 Ways Technology Has Negatively Affected Families.
Retrieved 06 02, 2015, from