Technology and Education: Shaping the Future of Learning

Brooke Wall

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Technology surrounds us. It makes our lives easier, allows us to live healthier and longer, and challenges us to come up with new ways to make technology even better and more applicable.

In recent years, how technology is used for education and learning has changed. Classes were once available in two ways: classroom or online. Over time, hybrid classes began to emerge, which allowed students to go to the classroom less and complete part of the work online. Now, most face-to-face classes have online aspects, giving students a broader range of learning and the ability to learn more material.

Two-year colleges and universities are creating online and in-person programs in other countries so that more people have education available to them.

These options are cheaper than paying international fees for online courses and more accessible for people that can't travel to other countries for school. University libraries have new advantages available to the students that wouldn't be possible without technology. Digital books make the material accessible. In the past, the physical books would have been costly to buy or impossible to track down.

In Northeastern University, located in Boston Massachusetts, Sarah Connell is one of many people who makes education and learning more accessible and adding to the growth and change of education through the Women Writers Project.

The Women Writers in Review collection, published by the Women Writers Project, includes digitized reviews of works by women writers from 1770-1830. Sarah, along with the WWP team of graduate students, have been working to build an interface that allows professors to bring the information into classrooms as a learning and teaching tool. This interface allows students to look up work by year, by author, or even by keywords.

As a student in an early American literature course in one of the few universities that participates with WWIR, I had the opportunity to learn about this program. I saw first hand the way you are immersed in the social and cultural issues of the time, allowing for a deeper understanding of the lives of early American women writers. Without the program, my experience in early American literature would have been very different. It never would have occurred to me to look for the reviews of these women writers as a source during researching and studying.

This year, the Women Writers Project is celebrating their thirty-year anniversary. They have a project called Thirty Years Thirty Ideas, in which they will focus on 30 separate ideas highlighting the topics covered in Women Writers Online. Sarah said, "When WWO first started, it was not possible to get these texts. Now that has changed over time." They will be working on outreach focusing on digital humanities, as well as filming a documentary. They will discuss changes in digital humanities and technology over time and focus on microhistory and gender.

From her experiences working with Northeastern's Digital Scholarship Group, Sarah will have the opportunity for a six-month project with the Boston Research Center to bring together digital archives, projects, and data sets related to the Boston area.

They hope that the project will encourage more projects in the future and give new research possibilities and chances to collaborate with more groups. "These prototype projects allow the possibility of research all in the same place and make these materials of the past accessible," Sarah said.

The information gained from the project will provide multitudes of research opportunities about Boston's history, as well as provide a new approach to how people take in that knowledge. With luck, this project can encourage more cities with rich histories to follow Boston's example and digitalize their own history.
Scholars, historians, and hobbyists will all benefit from what projects like these can provide.

Brooke Wall is a senior at Sam Houston State University. She is an honors student majoring in English. When she isn't writing or studying, she spends her time helping a group of indie authors edit their work for publishing.

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