Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Disruptive technology in today’s classroom 08/26/2014

Have you ever been lecturing, and you all of sudden realize that most of your class is on some kind of electronic device and not listening? It could be the most interesting lecture in the world: however, they have been sucked into cyberspace like junkies awaiting a fix.

Technology does not automatically make a better learning experience, even if the student is typing their notes (there are enough studies proving this).  Sometimes a pen a paper can be a much more powerful learning tool.

Anyway, I found this article interesting enough to share because it tells us about the creative solution educators have to come up with in today’s world to get students to put down their electronics.

“Today's Lesson: Life in the Classroom Before Cellphones”

“Although I had taught for more than 20 years, I didn’t realize that I had forgotten what it was like to teach in a classroom without cellphones until I came up with a plan to relive those halcyon days. It was near the end of the semester, and I offered one point of extra credit per class period for my psychology students who turned off their cellphones before class and put them on the front desk.”

“I was sure that no students would part with their phones for such a meager offering. Wrong: Virtually all my students did. They even said they loved the idea, so the next semester I offered all my classes the same deal for the entire semester, and participation continued unabated. In fact, much to my surprise, after the first few days, when I walked into my classes all the cellphones were already on the table in the front of the room.”

“That first day I tried it, I felt like I had traveled back to a time when students’ attention was focused in the classroom rather than on the phones under their desks. I began to notice the increased number of students paying attention to the lectures and taking notes, and looking around at other students who were participating in class discussions.”

“I slipped back into expecting these long-lost behaviors as the new given, and today I see no reason to ever go back to wrestling with cellphone issues. I am quite content to award extra credit for the attention of the class and for students’ attention to their work all semester long. Twenty-one percent of my students received one letter grade higher for the course from extra credit; 79 percent did not. Any concerns about too much extra credit are easily handled by adjusting the total number of points for the course.”

“But I wanted to make sure the students really were benefiting. So immediately after they completed the final exam, I offered as many as five points of extra credit for completing a questionnaire and writing an essay on their phone-deprived experience. Of 90 students, 82 participated.”

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

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