March 27, 2006

Let’s ban the laptops…another lame response to disruptive technology

This post was last updated on April 2nd, 2006 at 06:22 pm

I’m working hard here at trying to introduce laptops in the classroom. This does not help.

In the article, Professor Entman says:

“My main concern was they were focusing on trying to transcribe every word that was I saying, rather than thinking and analyzing,“ Entman said Monday. “The computers interfere with making eye contact. You’ve got this picket fence between you and the students.“

Sounds like a management issue here. You can argue all day whether students should be more focused, whether they should be handwriting, the reality is the notebook is here and by trying to ban or restrict technology you are not addressing the more important question of how to take advantage of it. It’s often about engagment. If the professor is not engaging, students will find things that are more engaging. If the concern is about thinking and analyzing, there are many ways to facilitate that online as well.

Banning technology is always the easiest solution but it’s usually not the best.

Here’s a response from one student:

“If we continue without laptops, I’m out of here. I’m gone; I won’t be able to keep up,“ said student Cory Winsett, who said his hand-written notes are incomplete and less organized.

I believe that changes in education are going to arise more from student action that administrative decisions. Good for you Cory.