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Search Technologies

Each of us has been faced with the problem of searching for information more than once. Irregardless of the data source we are using (Internet, file system on our hard drive, data base or a global information system of a big company) the problems can be multiple and include the physical volume of the data base searched, the information being unstructured, different file types and also the complexity of accurately wording the search query. We have already reached the stage when the amount of data on one single PC is comparable to the amount of text data stored in a proper library. And as to the unstructured data flows, in future they are only going to increase, and at a very rapid tempo. If for an average user this might be just a minor misfortune, for a big company absence of control over information can mean significant problems. So the necessity to create search systems and technologies simplifying and accelerating access to the necessary information, originated long ago. Such systems are numerous and moreover not every one of them is based on a unique technology. And the task of choosing the right one depends directly on the specific tasks to be solved in the future. While the demand for the perfect data searching and processing tools is steadily growing let’s consider the state of affairs with the supply side.

Not going deeply into the various peculiarities of the technology, all the searching programs and systems can be divided into three groups. These are: global Internet systems, turnkey business solutions (corporate data searching and processing technologies) and simple phrasal or file search on a local computer. Different directions presumably mean different solutions.

Local search

Everything is clear about search on a local PC. It’s not remarkable for any particular functionality features accept for the choice of file type (media, text etc.) and the search destination. Just enter the name of the searched file (or part of text, for example in the Word format) and that’s it. The speed and result depend fully on the text entered into the query line. There is zero intellectuality in this: simply looking through the available files to define their relevance. This is in its sense explicable: what’s the use of creating a sophisticated system for such uncomplicated needs.

Global search technologies

Matters stand totally different with the search systems operating in the global network. One can’t rely simply on looking through the available data. Huge volume (Yandex for instance can boast the indexing capacity of more than 11 terabyte of data) of the global chaos of unstructured information will make the simple search not only ineffective but also long and labor-consuming. That’s why lately the focus has shifted towards optimizing and improving quality characteristics of search. But the scheme is still very simple (except for the secret innovations of every separate system) – the phrasal search through the indexed data base with proper consideration for morphology and synonyms. Undoubtedly, such an approach works but doesn’t solve the problem completely. Reading dozens of various articles dedicated to improving search with the help of Google or Yandex, one can drive at the conclusion that without knowing the hidden opportunities of these systems finding a relevant document by the query is a matter of more than a minute, and sometimes more than an hour. The problem is that such a realization of search is very dependent on the query word or phrase, entered by the user. The more indistinct the query the worse is the search. This has become an axiom, or dogma, whichever you prefer.

Of course, intelligently using the key functions of the search systems and properly defining the phrase by which the documents and sites are searched, it is possible to get acceptable results. But this would be the result of painstaking mental work and time wasted on looking through irrelevant information with a hope to at least find some clues on how to upgrade the search query. In general, the scheme is the following: enter the phrase, look through several results, making sure that the query was not the right one, enter a new phrase and the stages are repeated till the relevancy of results achieves the highest possible level. But even in that case the chances to find the right document are still few. No average user will voluntary go for the sophistication of “advanced search” (although it is equipped with a number of very useful functions such as the choice of language, file format etc.). The best would be to simply insert the word or phrase and get a ready answer, without particular concern for the means of getting it. Let the horse think – it has a big head. Maybe this is not exactly up to the point, but one of the Google search functions is called “I am feeling lucky!” characterizes very well the existent searching technologies. Nevertheless, the technology works, not ideally and not always justifying the hopes, but if you allow for the complexity of searching through the chaos of Internet data volume, it could be acceptable.

Corporate systems

The third on the list are the turnkey solutions based on the searching technologies. They are meant for serious companies and corporations, possessing really large data bases and staffed with all sorts of information systems and documents. In principle, the technologies themselves can also be used for home needs. For example, a programmer working remotely from the office will make good use of the search to access randomly located on his hard drive program source codes. But these are particulars. The main application of the technology is still solving the problem of quickly and accurately searching through large data volumes and working with various information sources. Such systems usually operate by a very simple scheme (although there are undoubtedly numerous unique methods of indexing and processing queries underneath the surface): phrasal search, with proper consideration for all the stem forms, synonyms etc. which once again leads us to the problem of human resource. When using such technology the user should first word the query phrases which are going to be the search criteria and presumably met in the necessary documents to be retrieved. But there is no guarantee that the user will be able to independently choose or remember the correct phrase and furthermore, that the search by this phrase will be satisfactory.

One more key moment is the speed of processing a query. Of course, when using the whole document instead of a couple of words, the accuracy of search increases manifold. But up to date, such an opportunity has not been used because of the high capacity drain of such a process. The point is that search by words or phrases will not provide us with a highly relevant similarity of results. And the search by phrase equal in its length the whole document consumes much time and computer resources. Here is an example: while processing the query by one word there is no considerable difference in speed: whether it’s 0,1 or 0,001 second is not of crucial importance to the user. But when you take an average size document which contains about 2000 unique words, then the search with consideration for morphology (stem forms) and thesaurus (synonyms), as well as generating a relevant list of results in case of search by key words will take several dozens of minutes (which is unacceptable for a user).

The interim summary

As we can see, currently existing systems and search technologies, although properly functioning, don’t solve the problem of search completely. Where speed is acceptable the relevancy leaves more to be desired. If the search is accurate and adequate, it consumes lots of time and resources. It is of course possible to solve the problem by a very obvious manner – by increasing the computer capacity. But equipping the office with dozens of ultra-fast computers which will continuously process phrasal queries consisting of thousands of unique words, struggling through gigabytes of incoming correspondence, technical literature, final reports and other information is more than irrational and disadvantageous. There is a better way.

The unique similar content search

At present many companies are intensively working on developing full text search. The calculation speeds allow creating technologies that enable queries in different exponents and wide array of supplementary conditions. The experience in creating phrasal search provides these companies with an expertise to further develop and perfect the search technology. In particular, one of the most popular searches is the Google, and namely one of its functions called the “similar pages”. Using this function enables the user to view the pages of maximum similarity in their content to the sample one. Functioning in principle, this function does not yet allow getting relevant results – they are mostly vague and of low relevancy and furthermore, sometimes utilizing this function shows complete absence of similar pages as a result. Most probably, this is the result of the chaotic and unstructured nature of information in the Internet. But once the precedent has been created, the advent of the perfect search without a hitch is just a matter of time.

What concerns the corporate data processing and knowledge retrieval systems, here the matters stand much worse. The functioning (not existing on paper) technologies are very few. And no giant or the so called search technology guru has so far succeeded in creating a real similar content search. Maybe, the reason is that it’s not desperately needed, maybe – too hard to implement. But there is a functioning one though.

SoftInform Search Technology, developed by SoftInform, is the technology of searching for documents similar in their content to the sample. It enables fast and accurate search for documents of similar content in any volume of data. The technology is based on the mathematical model of analyzing the document structure and selecting the words, word combinations and text arrays, which results in forming a list of documents of maximum similarity the sample text abstract with the relevancy percent defined. In contrast to the standard phrasal search by the similar content search there is no need to determine the key words beforehand – the search is conducted through the whole document. The technology works with several sources of information that can be stored both in text files of txt, doc, rtf, pdf, htm, html formats, and the information systems of the most popular data bases (Access, MS SQL, Oracle, as well as any SQL-supporting data bases). It also additionally supports the synonyms and important words functions that enable to carry out a more specific search.

The similar search technology enables to significantly cut time wasted on searching and reviewing the same or very similar documents, diminish the processing time at the stage of entering data into the archive by avoiding the duplicate documents and forming sets of data by a certain subject. Another advantage of the SoftInform technology is that it’s not so sensitive to the computer capacity and allows processing data at a very high speed even on ordinary office computers.

This technology is not just a theoretic development. It has been tested and successfully implemented in a project of giving legal advice via phone, where the speed of information retrieval is of crucial importance. And it will undoubtedly be more than useful in any knowledge base, analytical service and support department of any large firm. Universality and effectiveness of the SoftInform Search Technology allows solving a wide spectrum of problems, arising while processing information. These include the fuzziness of information (at the document entering stage it is possible to immediately define whether such a document already belongs to the data base or not) and the similarity analysis of the documents which are already entered into the data base, and the search for semantically similar documents which saves time spent on selecting the appropriate key words and viewing the irrelevant documents.

Perspectives

Besides its primary assignment (fast and high quality search for information in huge volume such as texts, archives, data bases) an Internet direction could also be defined. For example, it is possible to work out an expert system to process incoming correspondence and news which will become an important tool for analysts from different companies. Mainly, this will be possible due to the unique similar content search technology, absent from any of the existent systems so far except for the SearchInform. The problem of spamming search engines with the so called doorways (hidden pages with key words redirecting to the site’s main pages and used to increase the page rating with the search engines) and the e-mail spam problem (a more intellectual analysis would ensure higher level of security) would also be solved with the help of this technology. But the most interesting perspective of the SoftInform Search technology is creating a new Internet search engine, the main competitive advantage of which would be ability to search not just by key words, but also for similar web pages, which will add to the flexibility of search making it more comfortable and efficient.

To draw a conclusion, it could be stated with confidence that the future belongs to the full text search technologies, both in the Internet and the corporate search systems. Unlimited development potential, adequacy of the results and processing speed of any size of query make this technology much more comfortable and in high demand. SoftInform Search technology might not be the pioneer, but it’s a functioning, stable and unique one with no existent analogues (which can be proved by the active Eurasian patent). To my mind, even with the help of the “similar search” it will be difficult to find a similar technology.

If Technology Is Effective in the Classroom – Why Do Some Students Dislike It So Much?

The effectiveness of technology use in the classroom has become a controversial issue. While many teachers and students feel that it’s best to use technology because it enhances teaching many others feel that it causes too many challenges and that it is a waste of time. If technology is as effective in the classroom as many teachers believe it to be; why do some students dislike it so much?

In order to objectively respond to this question, 3 articles were examined. 2 out of the 3 relate how the use of technology in the classroom frustrates students while the last one translates the thoughts of students who feel that technology in the classroom has responded to their need. So the issue is not that technology is not effective but rather that some teachers need to be mindful about technology use in the classroom and others need to be trained in order to properly use technology to teach so that students do not view technology as obstruction learning but as an enhancing tool.

After summarizing the 3 articles that have been reviewed we will be able to prove that there are 2 groups of students who claim to dislike technology in the classroom: Those who are improperly exposed to it by their teacher and those who did not give themselves enough time to familiarize themselves with it. We will then be able to get to the logical conclusion that those same students would appreciate the value of technology in the classroom if their teachers used it properly. Let us first summarize the articles that we are referring to.

The article “When good technology means bad teaching related that many students feel that teachers and professor use technology as a way to show off. Students complain of technology making their teachers “less effective than they would be if they stuck to a lecture at the chalkboard” (Young) other problems related by students include teachers wasting class time to teach about a web tool or to flab with a projector or software. When teachers are unfamiliar with the technological tools, they are likely to waist more time trying to use them the technological software that is used the most according to students is PowerPoint. Students complain that teachers use it instead of their lesson plan. Many students explain that it makes understanding more difficult “I call it PowerPoint abuse” (Young). Professors also post their PowerPoint Presentation to the school board before and after class and this encourages students to miss more classes.

Another problem reported in the article with the use of technology in the classrooms is that many schools spend time to train their staff about how to use a particular technology but it does not train them on “strategies to use them well” (Young). The writer believed that schools should also give small monetary incentives to teachers and professors to attend workshops.

In an interview made with 13 students, “some gave their teacher a failing when it came to using Power Point, Course Management systems and other classroom technology” (Young ) some of the complains were again about the misuse of PowerPoint’s and the fact that instructors use it to recite what’s on the scale. Another complaint was that teachers who are unfamiliar with technology often waste class time as they spend more time troubleshooting than teaching. The last complain mentioned is that some teachers require students to comment on online chat rooms weekly but that they do not monitor the outcome or never make reference to the discussion in class.

Similarly, the article “I’m not a computer person” (Lohnes 2013) speaks to the fact that students expectations as far as technology is concerned is very different. In a study done with 34 undergraduate university students, they advise that technology is an integral part of a university students life because they have to do must everything online from applying for college or university, searching and registering for classes, pay tuition and that in addition to being integrated in the administration, etc. technology is also widely used to teach and is valued by higher education.

Those students, however, feel that technology poses a barrier to success as they struggle to align with the ways in which the institution values technology.” A student explains that technology is used in her freshman year to turn in assignments, participate in discussion boards and blogs, emailing the professor, viewing grades and for a wide range of other administrative task including tracking the next school bus. This particular student whose name is Nichole says that she does not own a laptop but shares a family computer. She has a younger brother who also uses the computer to complete his school work so she consequently has to stay up late to complete assignments. She states “technology and I? We never had that connection” (Lohnes). Nichole dislikes the fact that her college requests that she had more contact with technology than she is conformable with. Nonetheless, she explains that as she started doing those school online assignments so frequently she came to realize that they were not that bad.

One of her issues though with technology is that she had come from Puerto Rico about a year prior entering college and that she never had to use the computer so much there. The articles relates that other college students like Nichole have admitted that they are “reluctant technology users” (Lohnes) The article wants to explain, in essence, that although most people would expect that college students prefer technology and are already familiar with it,” that assumption is faulty” (Lohnes).

On the other hand, the article “What Screenagers Say About… ” High school age students were asked about what they thought of technology but most expressed liking it. One of them said about PowerPoint: “My history teacher did a good job with Power Points. He would put them online, which made for really great reviews.” (Screneagers, 2011) Others expressed how technology was really who they are and that teachers should understand for example that when they text in class, they are not being rude but that they have gotten used to multi tasking. Another student invites teachers to not be afraid of technology “Teachers shouldn’t be afraid of technology. Understand that it’s how we live our lives. So don’t just push it out. Learn to cope with us and how we work.” (Screenagers, 2011)

Another student however, expressed how she prefers simpler technology that her teacher is comfortable with rather than high tech that the teacher does not manipulate well “The most important thing for teachers is to be comfortable with what they’re using. It doesn’t have to be super high tech. My math teacher used a projector, and it was one of my favorite classes. Then I would go to this other class where the teacher used Power Points and the SMART board, but I didn’t get any more out of it because she wasn’t comfortable with the technology” (Screenagers, 2011) Students spoke about their appreciation for virtually all types of technology used in the classroom. Another said “One of my teachers used Skype. That’s face-to-face interaction. If I had a problem with some math problem I was working on, I could take a picture of it and put it on the Skype screen. She could see where I was making my mistake. It really helped.” (Screenagers, 2011) The bottom line is that those high school students wanted to let teachers know that they really like technology and that it is already a great part of their daily routine but that it had to be used properly in order for them to enjoy it.

Similarly, they summarize a few things that they dislike as well. Among the list, they said: reading on the computer, paying a lot for an online textbook and the fact that they often forget everything else when they get caught up with using technology.

Nonetheless, they had much more positive things they liked in technology like for example that some teachers would text a question for them to think about before class, so if they do not know they answer, they would communicate with classmates to discuss the possibility for the answer before class. This allows them to go to class prepared. They also like using Skype, emailing their teachers instead of going to speak to them in person. They also enjoy discussion boards. The advice they would like to convey to their teachers is to make sure that they are comfortable with whatever technological tools they are using, to give them more freedom to use the good sites and those in the middle range when they are surfing the net using school computers and to understand that technology is part of their lives.

After summarizing those articles, we can see that the students mentioned in Youngs, 2004 dislike technology because their experience with it was not satisfactory. In other terms, a group of students dislike technology because some teachers are not mindful about technology use or they need additional training. For example, some students are frustrated because they feel that instructors waist their time when they are not properly trained to use the technological tools. Others disliked the fact that some teachers had PowerPoint presentations which were either not meaningful or they would just read whatever they wrote and add no additional comments. Those examples are called “bad teaching (Young, 2004) and they are in fact terrible examples that teachers should not follow because technology is not meant to help teachers do the least work or to adopt poor teaching practices. Somme students related that PowerPoint was widely used by teachers so they even call it PowerPoint abuse.

I can relate to what is being expressed by those students. I observed a Teaching Assistant teach a grammar class recently. He purchased a device to allow him to monitor the screen without touching the computer. He was able to walk throughout the class while changing slides. It all looked so impressive but despite all of this show, students were left so confused at the end of the lesson. When they asked questions, he went back to the slide that had the grammar rule and read it over to the class. The PowerPoint was a duplication of the textbook chapter. The same examples of the book were used. At the end of the course, he felt that he had done a great PowerPoint when in fact, it was not meaningful. It was a copy/paste project from the text book to the screen. This example shows that we need to use common sense when using technology. When teaching grammar, a teacher has to be able to come up with examples other than those in the book, you have to write on the board, have student practice what they have learned. PowerPoint use was a real bad idea, in my opinion, for teaching this course. It was just not the right technological tool for the lesson.

Students in that class may decide that they hate Power Points because it confuses them more while the issue is not with the use of PowerPoint but instead with the teacher’s poor choice of technology. The point I also want to make here is that teachers may sometimes be unaware of their improper use of technology. This is why, as educators, we sometimes need to ask students for their feedback so we may make corrections where needed.

We can then conclude that those students dislike technology as a result of improper technological use by teachers, and also because many teachers do not attend workshops or training sessions to help them obtain a broader knowledge of technology since they are so busy. Like suggest (Youngs, 2004) and (Lohnes, 2012), those same busy teachers would have attended those trainings if there were given an incentive. In the article “Technology Standards in a Third-Grade Classroom” (Kovalik, 2001), it is related how a study done on a 3rd grade class of 25 showed that students were properly using technology. There is no indication that those students dislike using technology. The article also mentioned how the teachers were highly trained because the Ohio board pays incentive to teachers to participate in technology training which teaching them not only how to use technology by teaches them strategies on when to use them.

Boards from other states should consider doing the same thing to ensure that their teachers are responding to the technological need of their students and that they are teaching them according to the standards. The Ohio school mentioned above met the standards as far as technology is concerned because of the technology coaching received by the teachers. If teachers learn how to properly use technology in the classroom, it will be a less frustrating experience for them and for the student who will less likely dislike technology since it will meet its purpose to enhance teaching.

The other groups of students who dislike technology are those who were not exposed to it for long enough. The College Freshman, Nichole advises that she was not exposed to so much technology while she was in high school in her home country; consequently, it seemed to be a burden to her to have to need a computer to complete most of her school assignments but also to interact with her classmate via a discussion board. What is interesting though is that even though she claimed to dislike technology so much, she advised that once she started to spend so much time using it, she realizes that it is not so bad. Even though it is likely that some people do not like the telephone and texting so much, the computer and some website have become part of most people daily routine. In Nichole’s case, she does not own a laptop and has to wait for her turn to use the family computer which means that she has no attachment to this media because her use of it is controlled. However, once she gets to own her own computer, it is a guaranteed that her view of technology will change.

I returned to school after about 12 years. When I was in college the 1st time around, nothing was electronic but when I contacted USF to apply, they told me that everything was online. At first, I asked why everything was online but once I got used to it, I started to understand the value of having the convenience to do a lot of things without having to live my home.

Therefore, Nichole will certainly not continue to dislike technology that much once she gets more familiar and more attached to it. The fact is that she stated that she started to realize that it was not that bad once she started doing so many assignments. She came to the conclusion that the computer was not yet a friend but that it was no longer an enemy; it became to her an acquaintance.

With this understanding, depending on the background of some ELL students and depending on whether or not they were exposed to technology in their home country, they may not like technology at first but this should not be a sign that they will never come to appreciated it. As teacher, we will need to allow them time to familiarize themselves with it while we continue to properly use it so that we do not advocate against it or involuntary send missed information about its true value.

On the other hand, the last article testifies to the fact that the new generation is technology driven and that when used properly, they benefits from it in the classroom, there are several examples of how teachers originally used technology to teach which are appreciated by students. What should the conclusion be then?

We have proven that technology use is effective in the classroom but that teachers need to take some actions in order to make this tool useful to students. It is necessary that they received some training if they lack it, and like a student suggested in the Screenager article, they should refrain from using complicated tools if they are not sure about how to use them. It’s best to properly use something much simpler that they are familiar with like a high school student suggested.

In addition, it is important for teachers to screen the countless technological tools and to research them before introducing them to their teaching. Should they test some that do not work well, they have to stop using them and seek one that is more appropriate. Most importantly, technology is not always the answer this is why teachers should be balanced when using it. If it is required that we use the board and chalks to help students better understand, this is what we should do. Doing so, we will ensure that more students appreciate the use of technology in the classroom for what it is worth.

High Technology and Human Development

Some basic premises – often fashioned by leaders and supported by the led – exercise the collective conscience of the led in so far as they stimulate a willed development. The development is usually superior but not necessarily civilized. The premises in question are of this form: “Our level of technological advancement is second to none. Upon reaching this level, we also have to prepare our society for peace, and to guarantee the peace, technology must be revised to foster the policy of war.” Technological advancement that is pushed in this direction sets a dangerous precedent for other societies that fear a threat to their respective sovereignties. They are pushed to also foster a war technology.

In the domain of civilization, this mode of development is not praiseworthy, nor is it morally justifiable. Since it is not morally justifiable, it is socially irresponsible. An inspection of the premises will reveal that it is the last one that poses a problem. The last premise is the conclusion of two preceding premises but is not in any way logically deduced. What it shows is a passionately deduced conclusion, and being so, it fails to be reckoned as a conclusion from a rationally prepared mind, at least at the time at which it was deduced.

A society that advances according to the above presuppositions – and especially according to the illogical conclusion – has transmitted the psyche of non-negotiable superiority to its people. All along, the power of passion dictates the pace of human conduct. Whether in constructive engagements or willed partnerships, the principle of equality fails to work precisely because of the superiority syndrome that grips the leader and the led. And a different society that refuses to share in the collective sensibilities or passion of such society has, by the expected logic, become a potential or actual enemy and faces confrontation on all possible fronts.

Most of what we learn about the present world, of course, via the media, is dominated by state-of-the-art technology. Societies that have the most of such technology are also, time and again, claimed to be the most advanced. It is not only their advancement that lifts them to the pinnacle of power, superiority, and fame. They can also use technology to simplify and move forward an understanding of life and nature in a different direction, a direction that tends to eliminate, as much as possible, a prior connection between life and nature that was, in many respects, mystical and unsafe. This last point does not necessarily mean that technological advancement is a mark of a superior civilization.

What we need to know is that civilization and technology are not conjugal terms. Civilized people may have an advanced technology or they may not have it. Civilization is not just a matter of science and technology or technical infrastructure, or, again, the marvel of buildings; it also has to do with the moral and mental reflexes of people as well as their level of social connectedness within their own society and beyond. It is from the general behaviour makeup of people that all forms of physical structures could be created, so too the question of science and technology. Thus, the kind of bridges, roads, buildings, heavy machinery, among others, that we can see in a society could tell, in a general way, the behavioural pattern of the people. Behavioural pattern could also tell a lot about the extent to which the natural environment has been utilized for infrastructural activities, science and technology. Above all, behavioural pattern could tell a lot about the perceptions and understanding of the people about other people.

I do believe – and, I think, most people do believe – that upon accelerating the rate of infrastructural activities and technology, the environment has to recede in its naturalness. Once advancing technology (and its attendant structures or ideas) competes with the green environment for space, this environment that houses trees, grass, flowers, all kinds of animals and fish has to shrink in size. Yet the growth of population, the relentless human craving for quality life, the need to control life without depending on the unpredictable condition of the natural environment prompt the use of technology. Technology need not pose unwarranted danger to the natural environment. It is the misuse of technology that is in question. While a society may justly utilize technology to improve quality of life, its people also have to ask: “how much technology do we need to safeguard the natural environment?” Suppose society Y blends the moderate use of technology with the natural environment in order to offset the reckless destruction of the latter, then this kind of positioning prompts the point that society Y is a lover of the principle of balance. From this principle, one can boldly conclude that society Y favours stability more than chaos, and has, therefore, the sense of moral and social responsibility. Any state-of-the-art technology points to the sophistication of the human mind, and it indicates that the natural environment has been cavalierly tamed.

If humans do not want to live at the mercy of the natural environment – which, of course, is an uncertain way of life – but according to their own predicted pace, then the use of technology is a matter of course. It would seem that the principle of balance that society Y has chosen could only be for a short while or that this is more of a make-believe position than a real one. For when the power of the human mind gratifies itself following a momentous achievement in technology, retreat, or, at best, a slow-down is quite unusual. It is as if the human mind is telling itself: “technological advancement has to accelerate without any obstruction. A retreat or a gradual process is an insult to the inquiring mind.” This kind of thought process only points out the enigma of the mind, its dark side, not its finest area. And in seeking to interrogate the present mode of a certain technology according to the instructions of the mind, the role of ethics is indispensable.

Is it morally right to use this kind of technology for this kind of product? And is it morally right to use this kind of product? Both questions hint that the product or products in question are either harmful or not, environmentally friendly or not, or that they do not only cause harm directly to humans but directly to the environment too. And if, as I have stated, the purpose of technology is to improve the quality of life, then to use technology to produce products that harm both humans and the natural environment contradicts the purpose of technology, and it also falsifies an assertion that humans are rational. Furthermore, it suggests that the sophisticated level that the human mind has reached is unable to grasp the essence or rationale of quality life. In this regard, a peaceful coexistence with the natural environment would have been deserted for the sake of an unrestrained, inquiring human mind. The human mind would, as it were, become corrupted with beliefs or ideas that are untenable in any number of ways.

The advocacy that is done by environmentalists relate to the question of environmental degradation and its negative consequences on humans. They insist that there is no justification for producing high-tech products that harm both humans and the natural environment. This contention sounds persuasive. High technology may demonstrate the height of human accomplishment, but it may not point to moral and social responsibility. And to this point, the question may be asked: “In what ways can humans close the chasm between unrestrained high technology and environmental degradation?”

Too often, most modern humans tend to think that a sophisticated lifestyle is preferable to a simple one. The former is supported by the weight of high technology, the latter is mostly not. The former eases the burden of depending too much on the dictates of the natural environment, the latter does not. The latter tends to seek a symbiotic relationship with the natural environment, the former does not. Whether human comfort should come largely from an advanced technology or the natural environment is not a matter that could be easily answered. If the natural environment is shrinking due to population growth and other unavoidable causes, then advanced technology is required to alleviate the pressures to human comfort that arise. It is the irresponsible proliferation of, say, war technology, high-tech products, among others, that are in need of criticism and have to stop.

The Need To Immediately Arrest The Technological Skills Deficiency of New University Entrants

Universities are gradually evolving and moving from the purely traditional system to the modern technological induced system. The rate of this technology driven state of universities globally is unprecedented. This makes it imperative for new entrants who are not abreast with information and communication technology (I.C.T.) skills to catch up at relatively short times. Thus, an immediate orientation course in I.C.T. targeted at developing the competencies of students in coping with the technologically charged university environment must be a prerogative of universities. This would aid in boosting teaching and learning activities at the universities while maximizing the expected behavioral change in learners after their education at the university.

The course activities at the universities today are streamlined in technology. For instance, the teaching and learning materials are now in electronic formats. These e-resources must be downloaded by students from specific websites given by the lecturer.

Sometimes, some lecturers hold virtual classes online with their students due to geographical constraints due to emergency workshops, conferences, and meetings. In addition, numerous assignments require that students carry out extensive research using online databases. These assignments are mostly to be submitted electronically to the electronic mailing address of the lecturer or uploaded on a virtual platform created by the lecturer or institution. Thus, if a student is deficient in I.C.T. skills, how can s/he cope with this technologically induced university environment?

Some may bicker that students at the Senior High school level were required to take lessons in I.C.T. to cushion them for the tertiary education steeped in technology. True this may be, the majority of the students at the High school level were not privileged to have had this opportunity due to many challenges. This may be as a result of the lack of technological accouterments as well as qualified instructor in the field to better handle the instruction delivery. These pool of students at most local communities and some urban centers are thus, highly deficient in technology. When they find their way to the universities, they meet an entirely unfriendly environment full of technology which they must speedily get abreast with all by themselves. Fast learners are able to learn these I.C.T. skills quickly from friends who were privileged to technological training while slow and shy students’ ends up throwing in the towel to university education.

Others experience the first attack of unfair grading as the primary by-product of their deficiency in technological skills. Sadly, these ‘snail-to-technology’ students are objects of ridicule by their colleagues and some lecturers who are technology-privileged. This is much experienced when group assignment and presentations are to be carried out on virtual platforms. Demoralized students usually fall prey to absenteeism to lectures that are solely technology grounded. This gap that exists between students who are able in technology and those who are deficient must be bridged.

An immediate remedy would be the organization of I.C.T. lessons tailored to meet the requirements and expectations of students at the university. This short course or orientation must be carried out in the very first week of student’s admittance to the university. It can even be scheduled as part of the orientation sessions usually promulgated at virtually all universities globally. This training aimed at endowing new entrants with basic skills in I.C.T. would help them to be able to cope and succeed in their newly found technologically induced environment.

Tertiary institutions must make it a priority to organize this I.C.T. lessons since the traditional face of universities is being fast transformed into technology-induced condition. This great feat would aid in beefing up academic work at the universities while arresting the ill of truancy on the part of students due to lack of technological skills.