4 Tech and IDS: An IDS Student Reflects on Three Readings

Ayla Steere

Introduction
Casey Connors, Plymouth State University IDS Major

Interdisciplinary studies allow students to take a look outside of the cookie cutter educational system. It allows students to incorporate and integrate disciplines from across the board, and create a major that is best suited for them. Social media is one of the most used forms of technology in current day. Within this post, we take a look at the pros and cons of technology and how we can teach students to use it in a positive manner to help better themselves in the future rather than cause harm upon themselves. While learning about technology within schools, we take a look at domains and the grading system and the ability for students to utilize knowledge.

The interdisciplinary world has a multitude of opportunities for students to explore. It gives them creative freedom and room to collaborate with whatever disciplines their hearts desire. Technology plays a significant role in our education today. Educators need to be aware of this, and look at it more as a tool to explore and learn, rather than looking at it in a negative connotation. We can combine the technology of present day with the typical learning styles that have been used within education for centuries. The discussion of the millennial aged children being obsessed with social media is often brought up, and within a school system can be associated with posting things that could harm kids reputations when they are looking into jobs years down the road. We should be promoting learning and social networks as a way for students to build themselves up by connecting with different networks and posting positive content in the hopes that it will help them in the future. Schools need to look at the positive aspect of technology and social media and apply it to the learning environments in their school. An example is the concept of giving students their own domain to post and create their work. A domain is a blog, where students can connect with one another and their teachers. This is a positive way technology can be used. Students often look at their school work as a way to receive a grade. A domain allows students to post and discuss things within their education system without feelings the pressure of it being stamped with a grade, and never being looked at again. Throughout this experience in IDS, our domains have been ways to connect with each other and look back at our school work that we did throughout the semester and for us to have access to years from now. The incorporation of technology within the fields of education is extremely important and can be used for a grader good than just posting inappropriate content on social media.

The interdisciplinary frameworks are never ending, and allow students to incorporate and collaborate in ways that the education system has never seen before. By allowing students to not only incorporate different disciplines but to be able to have access to different forms of technology is going to open doors that would have previously been closed.

Tech and IDS:
A Short Reflection on Three Readings, by an IDS Major
Ayla Steere, Plymouth State University IDS Student

Interdisciplinary ~adjective~ Involving two or more academic, scientific, or artistic areas of knowledge: involving two or more disciplines. This Merriam-Webster definition is encompassed in the readings above. Much of what I take away from the reading is about the importance of providing students with creative freedom, rights, and responsibilities. When entering an interdisciplinary field of study, we are combining disciplines to expand traditional curriculum. In order to do so, it feels important to expand the learning network by providing students with their own domain. In the reading, “Colleges Must Reconstruct the Unity of Knowledge,” Vartan Gregorian tells us “Electronic communication networks like the Internet2 project provide new tools and opportunities for scholars to make connections among disciplines and share resources.” Education systems need to understand the ability electronic networks have. The unlimited resources available to scholars for advanced grow and development in learning, is remarkable. When we want to combine disciplines, schools should start combining traditional learning styles, with new age technology.

Let’s be honest, almost the entire population is addicted to technology; especially social media. It is a frightful thought, but it also sparks debate on the topic of children and technology. How much should kids be allowed to access? How do we keep kids safe on the internet? The Web We Need to Give Students touches upon the topic of how to promote expanded learning networks without the fear of misused power. Audrey Watters expressed an opinion I agree with. She stated “Schools routinely caution students about the things they post on social media, and the tenor of this conversation…is often tinged with fears that students will be seen “doing bad things” or “saying bad things” that will haunt them forever.”. To that I ask, why are schools so focused on the negativity of the internet? Instead of scaring students, schools should focus their efforts on teaching new generations how to use the internet appropriately. The internet allows students to demonstrate learning beyond the walls of the classroom. Giving students a domain to showcase their work allows the learning process to expand far beyond the goal of a good grade. Copious amounst of importance is held to the letter grade that is received on assignments. That same standards should be held to the continued presentation and implementation of what is learned. Learning is not confined to the classroom and neither should be the work we produce.

A picture of icons related to social media

Photo credit: Tanja Cappell (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Andrew Rikard expresses the concern of how can students own a domain if it is being graded. The line between promotion digital ownership and assigning work in publicly accessible spaces is extremely thin. Rikard asks an important question “How often do traditional ‘assignments’ misrepresent student interest, passion, and rigor?”. Students are more than an assignment. By providing students the ability to take ownership in their work it can allow them to take pride in work that showcases their understanding of specific material beyond that of a letter grade. My conclusion of these readings is best represented in one final quote by Andrew Rikard who states, “…domains can engage broader audiences and promote high quality, original scholarship.” Studying an interdisciplinary field requires engagement in networks larger than myself. There is never a time or a place where we utilize knowledge from a single discipline and it is time for the university system to adapt.

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