A digital world is not a dumber world

Digital technology (DT) has revolutionized learning environments in higher education with multiple resources that are easily accessible and relatively easy to implement. DT likely improves the amount of knowledge or skills that a student acquires, as well as, it might keep engagement of the students in the classroom. Yet, just by adopting DT in the classroom doesn’t guarantee that the outcome of the educational process is going to be effective.  Professors should consider the course learning objectives and reflect on the usefulness of DT tools to achieve those objectives. Education should not be determined by technology, but DT is part of the environment and we need to make the best use those tools to shape competent and critical professionals for the current needs in society. In fact, some of those needs are related to professionals being able to thrive in diverse environments. Thus, using many educational tools including the traditional techniques could assure that we are preparing capable individuals to be able to respond under different work-relate scenarios.

Multi-tasking and DT etiquette remains a challenge that professors and students face in a DT classroom. There is evidence that students engaged in multi-tasking such as attending to a lecture while simultaneously checking social media and other websites can decrease the learning performance of students (Wood et al. 2012).

Finally, DT might be changing our mental process compared to those thought processes developed by using non-digital educational tools. This doesn’t mean that we are becoming dumber, instead it means that we are shifting our mind to improve our abilities to perform in a digital world. These abilities might not be the same as the ones developed by non-digital tools, but they are promoting decision making and mental processes that are developing critical thinkers for a different era.vintagesocial


Wood, E., Zivcakova, L., Gentile, P., Archer, K., De Pasquale, D., Nosko, A. 2012. Examining the impact of off-task multi-tasking with technology on real-time classroom learning. Computers & Education 58: 365-374.