The Academic Minute: Technology & Education



On the Academic Minute, The Phantom Vibration Syndrome,” Robert Rosenberger describes the sensation of feeling your phone vibrate, when it actually has not vibrated at all. In a study of undergraduate students, approximately 90% reported that they experienced this “phantom vibration syndrome.” When medical staff were surveyed, approximately 70% experienced the syndrome. Although many have experienced it, only less than 2% consider the syndrome bothersome. There are many speculations as to why this occurs, including:

  • “Brain wiring” form phone useage creates cognitive pathways, which lead to the misinterpretation of other stimuli as phone vibrations.
  • Perceived phone vibrations are a side effect of a general rise in anxiety caused by technology.
  • The perceived phone vibrations are caused by a learned bodily habituation, meaning our bodies are trained to feel an incoming call or text, and thus experience the “phantom vibrations.”

On the Academic Minute, The Digital Divide,” Marshall Jones discusses that internet access has increased by 153% from 2010-2012 in North America and by 3,606% on the African continent. One-to- one programs (one computer/device for each student) are helping to close the “digital divide,” which is the separation between those with and without access to internet and technology. With one-to-one programs, internet access is almost equal to living in a city with access to a large research library.

  • A few pros of one-to-one programs are they allow:
    • creative ways to manage classrooms (45 degrees-laptops half closed)
    • free wifi hotspots for those without access at home
    • unique ways to shrink the digital divide
  • A few cons of one-to-one programs are:
    • they are expensive
    • they allow too much screen time
    • there is not enough administrative support and professional development for teachers
    • vendors oversell the benefits

Financial Stress & College Debt- How Bad Is It??


In A Generation Hobbled by the Soaring Cost of College, Andrew Martin and Andrew Lehren reported that in the year 2012, the country had over $1 trillion in student loans!! More specifically, they found that in 2011, the average amount that each graduated college student owed was $23,300.  In addition, it is predicted by the Department of Education that the annual average cost of a public college education will be more than doubled in only 15 years. With this amount of debt, it is no wonder graduated college students are facing tremendous financial stress after college.

“Most students remain worried about money and the cost of required academic materials, and the impact is worse for minority students, the National Survey of Student Engagement finds.” According to the survey results provided in the article, Students Still Financially Stressed, from 2012 to 2015, senior college students have increasing percentages of financial stress. Approximately 60% of college students have reported frequent financial worry. Interestingly enough, it was found that financial stress did not tremendously effect student academic performance, and in fact only sacrificed one hour of work. In addition to transportation, housing, and enrollment costs, textbooks can cost an additional several hundreds of dollars.

“An analysis finds a steady rise in the proportion of college graduates paying too high a percentage of their annual income to repay student loan debt.” In a recent article, More Grads Have ‘Excessive’ Debt, Doug Lederman discusses that approximately 1 in 4 students out of college are required to pay nearly 10% of thier monthly income.

Professor Technology

The New York Times has given technology another praise worthy review in the article “A Scholarly Role for Consumer Technology.” It seems many Parisian Business schools have begun using everyday technology such as Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. Students are given access to these online tools through tablets such as i-Pads. Schools such as Essec believe these social media sites are much more resourceful than other programs that cost money.

Using free social networking sites allows professors to keep in contact with students both inside and outside the scheduled class times. In large lecture halls it is often easier to send a message using technology than to raise your hand and wait to be called on. The article also mentioned the use of electronic textbooks (see post Personalize Your Textbook); which can make using classroom textbooks a whole lot easier for students.

These business schools have found an effective and inexpensive way to make their classrooms run more smoothly with technology that many of their students are already well acquainted with. Maybe in the future more schools — not just business schools — will begin to use this type of technology to better their classes.