Hi! I'm Tanner.

I'm a software engineer at Apple. I write here occassionally.

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Electronic Homework

For the longest time I can remember, homework has always been submitted on paper written by human hand via ink or graphite. Now for my parents, it is safe to say that they have always had to submit homework on paper. Though this method of using physical materials to submit homework on is changing.

Recently in the past few years, I have used the ever so popular WebAssign site to work on and submit answers for AP Physics B homework and then again for AP Physics C. One could say teachers use a online site for homework because it is easier and faster to get homework assigned and graded. Students could also vouch saying that by using such a site, it is easier to work on a problem and get immediate feedback on whether or not a problem they were working on was correct. What is my overall guess why teachers use a tool such as WebAssign? They use WebAssign, because it is easy.

I only mention this because being a new student at Georgia Tech, I was introduced to T-Square, Georgia Tech’s online space for classes to view the syllabus, grades, and submit assignments. It is as though society has changed for the supposed “better” wherein everything is made easier through technology. No longer do I have to hand write my homework or explicitly use cursive for my course papers. I simply can write it on the computer and submit it via T-Square. My roommate has a system similar to WebAssign, OWL, Online Web Learning, to learn and review homework about Chemistry. The idea of having a physical paper copy is only as a backup - a second option in case our modern technology fails us and we must revert to the old way of doing things.

It is interesting to notice as we move up to a higher education (i.e. from high school to college) the amount of work submitted via computer increases. To put it graphically, the relationship between the level of education and use of technology seems to be upward-sloping. Granted that it may just be a Georgia Tech thing and it may just be my high school, but I think that no matter how small, the education system is slowly shifting towards a technology based use of homework.

On a related note, the lower education (e.g. elementary and middle schools) seem to be have an increase in the amount of technology used in the classroom. In my previous job, I worked on the technical team for Emtec which retrofitted new and old schools with new computers. For some reason, high schools were on the end of the list to be retrofitted, thus most of the schools I worked at were of lower education. In those schools, they were getting several labs of computers (including 2-3 computers laps and intervention labs), a computer in classrooms, and ceiling mounted projectors (for assumed SMARTBoards). So as higher education is progressing to a more technological out-of-class assignments while the lower education is progressing towards an increase in technology in the classroom.

Edit: Add tid-bit about OWL and linkify important stuff.