Teaching with Technology: May You Live in Interesting Times

William L. Goffe, Kim Sosin
2005 Journal of Economic Education  
During the last ten years, teaching with computer technology has diffused extensively throughout undergraduate economic education. This paper reviews the literature on the implications for student learning, presents specific educational activities that use a number of different computer technologies, and discusses several growing problems such as "cyber-plagiarism" along with some current solutions to these problems. But, there are many more opportunities than potential problems. The paper
more » ... ems. The paper concludes with some of the latest computer uses and presents possibilities for the future. We've always taught with technology, perhaps initially with sticks in the sand or colored paint on the cave walls. Then, as today, the goal of using technology was almost certainly to explain more effectively. Has the teaching profession (economics instructors in particular) moved quickly to adopt new instructional technologies? An illustrative stories about the classroom was presented about ten years ago by Eric Feder of the Colorado Department of Education (Griggs, 1995; see Sosin, 1998). Picture Rip Van Winkle waking in the mid-1990s from a century-long sleep. If he awakened in a doctor's office, he'd look around and have no idea where he was. If he awakened on an airplane, he'd be terrified. But if he woke up in a classroom, he would know exactly where he was and feel quite at home. If our Rip Van Winkle opened his eyes today, about ten years later than in the original story, would he recognize the classroom? Of course he would, but it is also true that much has happened in the economics classroom in the last 10 years. The use of computers, data projectors, PowerPoint, electronic games, and recently wireless handhelds and tablet PCs have changed the face of the some classrooms. 1 Has it also changed the way we teach? In this paper, we discuss technological developments in the classroom, briefly consider recent research on the impact on student learning of technology use in economic education, and then discuss some teaching activities that take advantage of computer technology. In the 2003 "Back to School" issue of PC Magazine, Metz points out that "on-campus wireless networks have doubled every year for the past three years," and, for the U.S., "more than 90 percent of all public universities run some sort of wireless LAN" (Metz, 2003 p. 91). Today's well-dressed college student has a computer and that computer is often a notebook with 12/30/2004
doi:10.3200/jece.36.3.278-291 fatcat:ag6rpjmlorg5vhzbus2dztptaq