An age of enlightenment

Knowledge is power. Human history has repeatedly shown the denial of the pursuit of knowledge for the common person, usually in order to keep the general public ignorant of any information that may usurp the people in power at the time. However, this is quite an impossible task today due to the free reign of internet culture and technology.

Even through early 20th century America, there was a common disconnect between what schools taught, the truth and exposure to any controversial or “sensitive” topics: such as the Native American genocide, the Theory of Evolution, “inappropriate” novels, etc. Although books were not denied to students during the early to mid 20th century, censorship and government control over what students could and could not read were still in effect.

Today, knowledge is everywhere. It cannot be denied to anyone who actively seeks it out in the United States. This is solely due to the internet, google, online forums and other sources – all of which have the potential to enlighten and enrich the minds of students and American young adults.

Close-minded school systems can censor information all they want, if a student wants to learn the truth (or at least several perspectives of the truth) then it only takes a few clicks of a button. Sites like KhanAcademy have sprouted in recent years, which greatly improve a student’s relationship with learning, turning it into something that can happen outside of a classroom or a textbook.

It seems over half of Americans agree with this assertion as well. According to a PewResearch poll, 57 percent of Americans believe technology has had a positive effect on, “information access and sharing, ease, speed and convenience of information.”

Many would exclaim that the current state of affairs concerning technology has created a lazy generation that is overly focused and dependent on the internet as a tool (specifically for schooling). However, technology and the internet is essentially a tool, and tools are meant to help humanity.

Caroline Greer, junior global studies major, had this to say about technology in the classroom, “It definitely gives a student the power to learn despite bad teachers or give them extra help. Also, it allows both students and teachers more flexibility in learning/teaching styles.”

Instead of looking through numerous books for one simple fact you need for an essay, students can simply Google the answer. Instead of just listening to a professor’s lectures, students can go onto YouTube and learn through different perspectives. Instead of memorizing small or insignificant facts, students can quickly look them up. 

Knowledge has never been about knowing everything, it is about having the freedom to access the information you want and compartmentalize it in the most efficient way possible.