Issue No. 14, Fall 2009, Volume 9, Number 1


Technology Is the Future

Eduardo J. Padrón

Students in our Physical Therapy Assistant program recently showed me a video about the proper way to lift a patient, and then they flipped through related textbook materials and performed a quick class quiz on the subject matter. They did all of this from the palm of their hands.

This pilot program using iPhones, with support from Apple, points to a future where all of your course materials will fit in your pocket. Heavy textbooks, bulky recording devices – even live tutoring – could be replaced and managed anywhere with a mobile device. It is exciting to think of the possibilities and even more exciting to see our students taking advantage of today’s most cutting-edge technologies.

Modern technology at Miami Dade College is much more than computer courtyards and students sending text messages. Technology is also saving lives. At Medical Center Campus, students and professionals upgrade their skills with strikingly realistic drills at the human patient simulator laboratory. At North Campus, professional and student fire fighters take advantage of Miami-Dade County’s only high-tech, fully programmable burn building.

Technology can also bring the world to your doorstep. In the School of Aviation, students sitting in flight simulators get a bird’s eye view without the risk of flying. Specialty training at this school has attracted air traffic control managers from China, and several teams have completed their customized coursework. They could have gone anywhere in the U.S., and they choose Miami Dade College.

Speaking of international movement that breaks down barriers, college coursework has migrated to the online world with amazing speed because students have embraced it. The enrollment at MDC’s Virtual College already exceeds the number of students at four of our eight campuses. That the Virtual College has been able to serve our troops abroad is a telling, heartwarming story that is captured in this issue. While the online experience is highly convenient, it still relies on capable, conscientious faculty to make it truly valuable. Technology will never be able to replace the people who use it, and we should be mindful of putting the human touch into our machines. I believe the more that humanity is infused into a particular technology, the more powerful it becomes.

Being adept at using and learning technology are fundamental skills that all college graduates will need to thrive in a competitive marketplace, and they were selected by faculty and students as one of the 10 Miami Dade College Learning Outcomes.

We expect that all graduates of MDC will be able to “use computer and emerging technologies effectively,” and we encourage faculty in all disciplines to include this outcome in their coursework. These pioneering outcomes are revolutionizing our curriculum and gaining national recognition.

The other nine learning outcomes can reap benefits from the proper application of technology. For example, even the study of history, which has often been delineated by the introduction of new technologies, can be enhanced with 21st century techniques of preservation and presentation.

It is important for all of our faculty members and students to be comfortable using technology, but it should not overshadow the other learning outcomes that encompass a full, liberal education. When it comes down to it, technology is a tool created by the people and for the people, and it can be used in both positive and negative ways. With a well-rounded education, including the learning outcome of ethical thinking, Miami Dade College is helping future generations to use technology for the betterment of themselves, their families, and ultimately, of all humanity. It is a brave new world, indeed, and we are preparing our students to make the most of it..

— Eduardo J. Padrón, MDC President

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Miami Dade College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award associate and baccalaureate degrees.
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