Although I completely understand this debate, the issue isn’t really ‘the device’ but rather the people engaged in the class? Or not. Perhaps a conversation isn’t the correct word when we place 300 Students in a lecture hall with 1 professor? Perhaps having no devices for everyone would re-infuse humanity into the delivery of curricula? I doubt it.
As a high school teacher, I can and do manage a set of expectations around devices. I can teach, ( although often a frustrating aspect) the application appropriateness of devices when teaching a small class. 30 is hard. 300 impossible. Teens do get it even if they don’t like it. I love using technology in my classroom but only for my classroom goals. I hate the idea of technology used as babysitters but I also believe we have a generation who has been raised with that exact thing. ‘Schooling ‘ is a passive thing you do when you have to. Learning is a process with personal intention and technology is implemented when a demand shows itself. Today I see students learning a great deal when choosing not to use technology. In fact I’m seeing a decline the use of devices by some students who already have accepted an intent. Thinking, talking, etc. I often see laptops used by students who have NOT found a purpose or intention for learning. As a reaction, they lean on the equipment hoping it will yield something or just as a prop. The power of devices are to seldom integrated with design but brought into the classroom space with the notion they are needed- like wristwatches or stop lights.
Adult age students who pay tuition bring a different cultural dynamic to the use of laptops or devices in classrooms. What can high school educators learn from this essay topic? Should we be doing anything different?
“It was one kid who unintentionally suggested the idea. He was sitting in the back row, silently pecking away at his laptop the entire class. At times, he smiled at his screen. But he rarely looked up at me.”( Gross)
Clay Shirky, a professor at New York Univeristy, recently asked his students to stop using laptops in class. Another recent study convinced him to do so. The title: “Laptop multitasking hinders classroom learning for both users and nearby peers.” A research team in Canada found that laptops in the classroom distracted not only the students who used them, but also students who sat nearby. Meaning, not only do the laptop-using students end up staring at Facebook, but the students behind them do, as well.(Washington Post)
Gross, T. (2014, Dec 30). ‘This year, I resolve to ban laptops from my classroom. ‘ Retrieved Jan 4, 2015, from