There is no doubt that technology has revolutionized the twentieth century. In fact automobiles, telephones, and computers gained their prominence in that era. Such innovation has brought convenience to transportation, communication, and commerce in our society. Many people, however, contend that technology hasn't much changed our lives in the early twenty first century. It is possible is that it's because we witnessed such dramatic changes in the previous century that we are inclined to perceive that there hasn't been anything much new these days. Another thought is that it's too early to compare our century with the last one after only nine years have passed.
Yet those people are simply blind to recognize how technology has advanced education for our world. With access to the Internet, we can quickly find the names of people who witnessed the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln rather than digging through encyclopedias, biographies, or old newspapers. Nonetheless search engines such as Google or Yahoo are too much of a cliche to use as arguments that technology dramatically changed our generation.
In fact, these days, a great many schools use supplementary resources to help educate their children; they range from websites that have auto-graded assessments to those that can let teachers post assignments, and to those that can simply let students find out their current grade in a course. St. Mark's School located in Southborough, Massachusetts, is one college-preparatory school that uses the Internet as a fundamental means for teachers to interact with students in and out of the classroom.
A recent website that helped cultivate the academic curriculum at St. Mark's is Blackboard. In essence, the objective of Blackboard is to "ensure the continuity of learning and communication when the unexpected happens" (www.blackboard.com). Undeniably, the vast majority of the students here at St. Mark’s agree that Blackboard has indeed succeeded in helping them communicate with others in an effective way. The following are responses from both a student and a teacher from St. Mark’s School.
Kristal Cheung, a fifth former (junior), remarks, "I like it because it's more technologically advanced with the audio and video materials for language learning, and we can also check our grades to see how we are doing. Although it ruins the surprise, I think it's better for us to know beforehand so we know where we stand in the semester." Also, some of my teachers post the homework on Blackboard, so I can go check the homework. Sometimes if classes are too rushed, I can always check on blackboard so that I won't leave out any homework."
Mr. Wells, an AP Physics teacher at St. Mark's, comments, "I use Blackboard for storing all of my course materials so that students will get up to it. It's great that students can get their grades. It's really useful for a student because they cannot lose a worksheet or not know what an assignment is; they can simply go and download it. Also, they can check if they forgot to turn something in. I can also make announcements on it. Blackboard is very useful. The students and faculty find it very easy and useful to access."
Blackboard has been one of the biggest changes in the curriculum of St. Mark's. It not only has promoted communication between the students and teachers, but also has been a source of reliability and help in many ways. Clearly, websites such as Blackboard have furthered education in the twenty-first century. Without a doubt, this is only the beginning of such development; we can only expect more.