Unintended consequences of technology in education

My wife is currently studying engineering. One of her fellow engineering students is also studying some mathematics on the side. He shared the following tale of unintended consequences arising from technology in the education.

In a particular mathematics course the students are set homework. The lecturer will then work through the solutions of these homework problems in the next lecture. This is done by using the solutions manual (provided by the publisher I assume) and the document camera available in the lecture theatre.

Small problem. Can you pick it?

Apparently the lecture is recorded and made available online. Also, the lecturer has a habit of flicking through the solutions manual to find the right page whilst the manual is under the document camera.

It appears that the students have discovered you can pause the online video recording and take a good hard look at what’s revealed.

4 thoughts on “Unintended consequences of technology in education

  1. Nice story :-)
    On a slightly more serious note I think a case can be made that many of the most powerful and ultimately most influential changes in education were somewhat unforeseen. Yes, as you have pointed out earlier this month, we are rather faddish, often just following trends that seem to have suddenly become important. The lasting changes, though, seem to have come about as people adapted to pervasive changes and then became a part of a new way of doing things; a new way of looking at the world.

    1. Agree, it’s the unintended consequences and the learning that happens as a result that leads to innovation. Reinforces my bias about the limitations of teleological or planned thinking, i.e. the drive to achieve the plan can get in the way of learning.

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