Technology has changed Chemeketa through the years
By Jason Kendrick – Photo by Candace Johnson
Technology has created massive changes at Chemeketa through the years.
In a few short years, students went from being taught on blackboards and using mimeographed copies to using keyboards, laptops, tablets, and smartphones.
More innovations are happening almost daily.
Tim Rogers, who came to Chemeketa in 1988, has been in charge of technology at the college for the past seven years. His perspective on technological progress has changed with the times.
“When the internet came into play, it was like going from the Stone Age to Star Trek,” he says.
“We didn’t even have voicemail when I started. All communication was inner office mail; there was no email.”
Chemeketa’s instructors, both old and new, have been at the forefront of this technological change.
Christine Linder, the program chairman of the college’s Visual Communications program, has been with Chemeketa since 1993.
“We’ve been using Macintosh computer technology ever since I got here, but it is increasingly more complex,” she says.
“Some things we still do traditionally, but everything has been influenced by technology – things like page layouts, photography, and color correction are all digital now.”
Del Cornutt has taught sociology at Chemeketa for 42 years, which places the start of his career in the technological Stone Age that Rogers speaks about.
“The only technology we had at our disposal was primarily overhead projectors, chalkboards, and mimeograph copied handouts,” he says of his early days at Chemeketa. “That is when we were moving rapidly toward a computer system. We actually went from a steno pool, where we sent things to be typed to building secretaries.
“Once teachers learned how to use the computers, we then had the ability type up our own information.”
Rogers says, “When email came into play, it was wonderful to be able to reach out to students. It was overwhelming the amount of emails that were coming in.”
The change didn’t take place over night, and advances in technology weren’t always overwhelming, either.
“The computers were clunky: very slow and large. The internet was just starting a couple years later,” Linder says.
Chemeketa staff members agree that while many of the changes were gradual, the benefits were great, even in the early stages.
The internet then changed everything.
“Technology has benefited classes in that you have access to global resources,” Linder says. “You can pull up state-of-the-art and real-world examples, like a tweet or a blog that was just posted this morning, and make it relative to your class.”
As new technological innovations are taking place almost daily, many people – especially those who are younger and were raised on technology – are able to keep up with the time. For others, however, the learning curve is larger.
Linder says, “I’m sure that a lot of teachers have struggled with adapting to technology, but it requires patience. You have to choose the technology and resources that will benefit your students the most. Not everything is relevant or useful.”
Rogers says that the college’s instructors must continually adapt to changing technology.
It’s always the case that “some people … have to learn the new things,” he says. “They have to keep up on the technological curve. They need to keep up with how students are using the technology and how they expect teachers to use it.”
Chemeketa’s students are aware of the technological divide.
Kendra Pike, who is in her second year at Chemeketa, says, “I’ve had many teachers who were behind on technology. In a lecture class I’ve taken, the teacher could not access both her computer and the projector, so class was delayed when an IT person had to come down and help her.”
Linder says, “You have to constantly keep updating digital skill because things are constantly changing. You need to make things current.
“Students today have not had to transition to technology because they have grown up with it. Adaptation has been on the teachers.”
Pike says, “I feel like keeping up on technology is a skill one has to work on. Over time, technology becomes easier to understand as you learn about the older pieces of it first.
“I feel like it’s easy for me as I learned how to use a computer when I was quite young. Therefore, I know each new computer I use is just a more advanced version than my very first one.”
In today’s world, technology actually has flipped the equation, to the point that long-time college instructors are often required to become students again.
“The consequence of technology is a mixed bag,” Cornutt says.