John M. Woodruff, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Spanish, Valdosta State University
 

Technology

There are two ways of looking at technological outcomes: easier and better. For example, when humans invented the wheel, it made work easier; when humans acquired fire, it made life better. Today we can still see this principle at work in a digital perspective. Computing technology makes banking and accounting easier while that same technology makes television and movies better. Depending on one's perspective, technology also creates a subjective efficiency which, depending on a user's perspective, can be interpreted as easier or as better, but not necessarily not both (i.e. word processor versus typewriter; card readers versus door locks; digital books versus print books).

In certain instances, however, technology successfully achieves both easier and better. In higher education, technology facilitates the exchange of ideas, mitigates the drudgery of mundane tasks, and delivers consistent and uniform content. Technology used by educators tends toward better while technology used by students leans more toward easier (i.e. online courses produces better institutional outreach and easier student access). In learning new languages, web-based applications such as Quia is a great example of producing both better and an easier: faculty can gauge subject matter comprehension and students receive instant feedback (an essential element of discipline theory on the role of grammar in language learning).