Letter to the Editor: Technology in the college classroom is necessary

I enjoyed reading your opinion piece, “technology in the college classroom is necessary.” It touched on several issues that are important to me: the environment, education, and computers. First, I would like to give you a little background about my computer usage.

I love technology and have made somewhat of an effort over the last ten years to avoid both proprietary software and software that infringes on users freedoms. For example, I will not purchase a kindle because Amazon has a back-door that allows them to delete books (which they have used in the past) and I will not use Apple products because they try to sue their competitors out of business and because they censor writers and developers. I avoid a lot of other tools for similar reasons.

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My current laptop is running a Linux distribution with no proprietary software (aside from the BIOS). I use Latex, Python, and Beamer in place of Word, Excel, and Power Point. In my current graduate program, I am given a lot of freedom to choose my tools, but as an undergraduate I often was not.

If technology is to be integrated into the classroom, I think it needs to be done in a way that is software and platform independent. We already live in a world where some instructors require students to use Microsoft Office (which is unnecessary) and I can imagine a world in the future where tablets/e-readers are the only way to get a textbook or where digital textbooks are required for some extraneous feature they offer.

In short, I would also love to see more technology integrated into the classroom, but I would hate how it would likely be executed.

Alan Lewis

Geology Department