PLUGGED IN: Tu students hooked on technology

by Jake Hawkins
Managing Editor

With technology usage on the rise, students, faculty and staff at Transylvania University find themselves increasingly relying on gadgets to get through their day.

“Students are much more connected,” said Dr. Kenny Moorman, program director and professor of computer science. “It is not unusual for a student to look up some related piece of information in the middle of a class.”

Technology usage is evolving too. Gone are the days of the desktop personal computer’s rule, and the laptop is slowly phasing out. Mobile technology, like cell phones and tablet computers such as iPads, is where the focus is shifting to.

“I think that we will continue to see the proliferation of tablet computing,” Moorman said. “Studies suggest that half of the technology we use today will be obsolete in two to three years.”

On Transy’s campus alone, upwards of 1,700 student devices are registered on the university’s network, according to Vice President for Information Technology Jason Whitaker.

This number is comprised of all devices: computers, mobile devices and gaming systems. While Whitaker can’t track the specific devices accessing the network at any given time, he can say what they are accessing.

“Netflix, YouTube and Flash account for roughly 40 percent of our bandwidth usage during a given 24 hour period, with Web browsing at around 35 percent,” said Whitaker.

Transy’s servers see peak usage, of about 500 devices at once, from noon to 2 p.m. and then again from 10 p.m. to midnight, Whitaker said.

Technology does have some drawbacks, though, with many being bothered by the distractions it causes.

Senior Monica Lawson doesn’t think laptops, or any other devices, should be allowed in the classroom.

“The draw to be on Facebook, Twitter or whatever else is too strong,” said Lawson. “Every time I’m in a class where laptops are allowed, I see at least two or three students on Facebook.”

Junior Alex Cheser, however, finds technology very useful.

“I haven’t printed a PDF or syllabus since I got my iPad,” Cheser said. “It’s really handy.”

“Education has always had a love-hate relationship with new technology,” said Moorman. “Technology can support an educator, but it cannot be the end of the discussion.”

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