To say the least, technology has definitely expanded our resources for learning. People doing research can now access a seemingly unlimited number of academic journals and papers. Professionals are able to stay up to date with current standards and advances in their fields without having to wait for research to be published into books. As a coach, I frequently visit various coaching sites that give me access to the top basketball minds in the world (see my blog entry Curating the Web for a list of sites I follow). Gone are the days when coaches like myself would have to spend a lot of money to travel across the country to attend seminars and coaching clinics. With the help of the internet, I can learn from these great coaches anytime I want at my pace and in the comfort of my own home.
But alas, the internet and technology can be both a blessing and a curse. While the benefits of technological advances cannot be ignored, mastery of new equipment and software can be an overwhelming prospect for people making the transition into the modern age of education. As a graduate student, I am very grateful for my professors for helping transition into online learning as easy as possible. I am sure that if we were not provided with the guides and tutorials for Moodle, the technology I am using right now would only be a distraction and a source of frustration. Having to spend energy and time to figure out and master new technology can definitely be a big hindrance to learning any educational material. Once a learner gets past this hurdle, the blessing of internet-based education unfolds into a great experience. I really appreciate the opportunity to work on a master's degree while being employed full time. Without the internet, I do not think pursuing a degree at this season of life would even be possible.