Part 3 Questions about Equipment
Can you think of any examples of modern machines or high-tech equipment that people have in their homes today?Yes, there are lots of such appliances and devices, for example, coffee makers, automatic washing machines, dishwashers, microwave ovens, and then there are other domestic appliances such as vacuum cleaners, floor polishers, and all the usual electronic entertainment gadgets like computers, TVs, music players and similar things.
What do you suggest a person, for example, an old person, do if he or she cannot understand how to use modern equipment?That's easy, the first thing to do would be to ask for help in the store before buying a new piece of equipment for use in the home or a new electronic device. Ask the sales assistant to demonstrate all the functions and any other important points the user should be aware of.
Once the person has the equipment in their home and if they experience problems with using it - then probably the easiest thing to do is to ask a family member who might be more knowledgable about such things, maybe their children, or even grandchildren, to help them learn how to use the equipment correctly.
What do you suggest could be done to help old people understand how to use modern hi-tech equipment?Really, I don't think it's a big problem - or at least it's only a short-term problem. Most older people will have family or even friends who can help them understand how to work any new high-tech equipment they buy. Of course, sales people in stores could make a point of trying to be extra helpful when an older person makes such a purchase but apart from that I don't think there's much more that needs to be done.
The only reason it's a bit of a problem at the moment is due to the rapid development of technology devices and gadgets which we now incorporate in our daily lives, for someone who grew up without these devices it might be a challenge, but for the generation which have grown up with tech as part of daily life - when they get older - they'll be more able to deal with future tech developments and probably won't need any help at all.
Do you think today's young people will also have problems with hi-tech equipment when they are old?I don't think so, as I said, they'll probably keep up to date with stuff like that and it won't be anything new for them. They'll be much more tech savvy and used to using it and learning how to use new technology devices as part of everyday life.
What are the advantages of using electrical equipment?Well, there are plenty depending on the particular equipment in question, but generally speaking, electrical equipment is easier and faster to use than doing things manually. For example, my grandfather used to mow the lawn with an old fashioned mechanical lawnmower - it was hard work and used to take him a lot of time.
Nowadays you can do the same with an electric mower in less than half the time, and it's a loss less effort too. Another common example would be the use of electric power tools. These have become very common and are much easier and quicker than conventional tools, I'm thinking about electric drills, screwdrivers and things like that - which make doing repairs around the home much easier.
Does your university have (or use) much high-tech equipment?Yes, I think it does. Apart from all the audio visual equipment used in classrooms or lecture theaters, they obviously have some high-tech equipment in the engineering and science faculties as well as computer equipment such as servers and so on which run the conputer networks within the university.
What are some examples of high-tech equipment that is used in some classrooms today?I suppose you could class video projectors as high-tech, as well as laptops and other devices used to present data or information for students. Then there is other equipment like interactive whiteboards which are used in some classes - they're a more recent addition to the teaching aids used.
Do you think the amount of high-tech equipment a university uses can help attract more students to that university?It might help - but it's not the main reason why most students choose a particular university or course of study. I think the reputation and standard of education is much more important for most students when selecting the university they want to attend.
Obviously though, in some cases, students might be primarily swayed by the equipment available, especially if they are Phd students doing scientific research, that sort of thing, then I suppose that the equipment they will have access to could be much more important than other factors.
Do you think there are any (possible) shortcomings to using high-tech equipment in classrooms (as teaching tools)?No, not really, it's usually a more effective way of doing things and at the end of the day students still have to digest or assimilate the information whether they see it on a video screen or read it in a book, it's really only the method of presentation of information which is affected in most cases.
Do you think computers (and other hi-tech electronic equipment) might one day replace teachers?No, well, not in the near future, it's unlikely that a computer will replace a teacher, for many reasons but the main one is at the moment the ability of a computer to interpret and explain information to students in a relevant and interesting manner is lacking - there is also the ability to interact with different students and perceive the subtle nuances of human speech, interaction and behaviour which would cause problems.
While computers can gather, store and present information very effectively - the art of discussion and debate, which is essential for students to develop their skills, is not readily available with computers. Maybe at some point in the future when artificial intelligence is sufficiently advanced - it might happen.
What's more probable in the near future is that technology such as the internet will change the way teachers interact with students and we might see universities delivering the bulk of their courses online and therefore requiring fewer teachers - but that's a bit different from a computer replacing a teacher.