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A “Small” Approach to Education with Technology

Education and technology have worked for the betterment of larger institutions and universities. The technology used by these institutions help to solve accessibility issues and are a way for both students and faculty to become acquainted, familiar, and experts with using technology for teaching and learning.

However, some smaller institutions, such as Deep Springs College, simply find the use of technology unsuitable for their specific types of studies, which include academics, involvement with a democratic governance, and a labor program. This brings up the question of whether technology is absolutely necessary for the success and quality of these institutions. Will technology always be a benefit, or is it how it can be applied to solve specific and unique problems that can only be found in certain smaller institutions?

In an article written by Carl Straumsheim for Inside Higher Ed, Straumsheim talks about how smaller, private colleges are the least likely to adopt or utilize online education. Some are hostile towards the idea of changing course structures and curricula to satisfy the need for content to be online. Others are indifferent about online education, or education supplemented with technology, because their courses do not find technology able to replicate or improve upon existing content.

Smaller institutions who do use technology use it in ways that create “an enhanced experience”. Shimer College, for example, is a small, private liberal arts college that has used technology in their Global Citizen Year program. To solve certain communication issues that can occur as students travel abroad to different countries, the program has used the Canvas learning management system to organize course-related content and have used Skype and emails for communication purposes. Though the technology is not the major factor in the program, it is used in ways that have greatly benefited both the students and faculty in the program, as well as preserving the integrity and honoring the values of the institution’s vision.

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