Gradually and with a steady pace, technology has made its way into all areas of human development. It is not only present, but incorporated and integrated into our everyday life. From buying a ticket with a mobile device, to watching series online, to sending an email, transferring money, or even turning the lights on, we all interact with technology on a daily basis. Inevitably, education has not been the exception, and whether we realize it or not, the incorporation of this scientific knowledge and these practices into academic life has impacted students’ cognitive development process and even, I dare say, revolutionized it.

As a higher education institution, IE has taken steps to prepare students for this era of advanced technology that we are heading to. Students count on many technological resources to accompany them in their education. For starters, the Campus Online, a platform that can be accessed via the Internet or the Blackboard application, allows students and staff members to view their schedule, courses, assignments, organizations and notifications. It has become the heart of the IE community, it is used and known by all. With this tool, they can not only access information regarding their career, but also the library portal, students services, and upcoming events. 

This technological resource has impacted IE students’ connection with the university, because the scope of their education is not limited to the physical classrooms or lectures, but can be expanded as much as they let it. They are one click away from reading a book, listening to a Podcast, or reviewing a class presentation. The use of technology has brought them empowerment to gain knowledge in an easy and convenient way, and interestingly, by engaging with this technological resource for their education, students not only learn, but also open their minds to embrace new technologies, which is becoming the core of most business.

However if one thing is certain, it is that this unprecedented technological growth has also brought new challenges for future generations. Being exposed to technologies that are embedded in every aspect of a student’s life, including their education, implies that they constantly need to be adapting to these. It has become a must in a student’s life as it is no longer about technology learning to fulfill a personal interest, but to not get left behind, and lose competitive advantage. The world keeps evolving around us, and as students, we must develop the ability to evolve with it, following its pace. 

The most recent technological resource that IE has implemented is the face recognition device at the entrance of María Molina Building, which students now are required to use in order to come in. As you place yourself in front of the technological screen, the device is able to recognize you, display your name and open its doors to let you in. Certainly, this in an innovation that has brought usability advantages as school ID’s are no longer needed and lines to enter are shorter. This comes to show that as a higher institution, IE keeps adapting to new technologies and unfolding with new scientific knowledge and practices.

Still, as with every controversial topic, there is another side of the coin here, which is the issue of privacy. Students’ personal ID’s, along with their information are disposed by the technological devices at the university to compare them to faces of a known database until they find a match. This brings the doubt of whether this technology is threatening student’s individual privacy as their “faceprint” is now stored digital data, which means that they are not in full control of their personal information anymore. Is it possible for students’ faceprints to be accessed by third parties? Could they end in another place? Who has ownership of them? And are they truly safe? These are all questions that concern many students within the community.

You might now be wondering, why does this matter? 

It is clear that change is inevitable, and cannot be avoided. Showing resistance or being unprepared to it, just makes you react to change, but not take an active stance. As people who have been exposed to technologies since the beginning of our lives, it is up to us to keep adapting to them, to stay informed, updated and increase one’s chance of succeeding both in the university and the workplace by leading these new advancements. In our current higher education institution, we are encouraged to use technology and welcome innovation as it comes. 

Photo courtesy of Cristina Fiorillo

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