Monday, October 21, 2013

Disruptive technology while teaching

Do you remember a time before texting, Facebook, and twitter? Do you remember payphones and pagers? It seems like simpler times, and I say simpler not perfect. Technology has made life convenient; technology has a definite place in our world.
However, in terms of the classroom, when does technology become too disruptive? At the K12 level, there are rules in place that teachers can enforce (although those get broken regularly), at the college level it becomes harder, especially if you are teaching non-traditional students.
As educators, we certainly do set expectations about how we would like things to go in class; it is in the syllabus, we talk with students, and remind them regularly. There however, seems to be a growing crop of students who feel that the rules do not apply to them, and that “they are paying your salary therefore…”.
“Texting in Class”
“If you are leading a class and imagine that students seem more distracted than ever by their digital devices, it's not your imagination. And they aren't just checking their e-mail a single time”.
“A new study has found that more than 90 percent of students admit to using their devices for non-class activities during class times. Less than 8 percent said that they never do so”.
“Asked why they were using their devices in class, the top answer was texting (86 percent), followed by checking the time (79 percent). e-mail (68 percent), social networking (66 percent), web surfing (38 percent) and games (8 percent)”.
Personally, I encourage the use of some types of technology in the classroom such as Evernote, Freemind, Mendeley, and LinkedIn. Technology can help students become more organized, save their notes, and help them network in the professional world they are trying to enter. There are students who truly do take notes on their laptops because they type so darn fast!
Let me close with this thought: sometimes it is ok to unplug from the information super highway, sometimes it is peaceful, and sometimes you might be surprised at how enjoyable a class can be without distractions.
Dr Flavius A B Akerele III
The ETeam

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