Day #86 The Laptop Argument

College professors are upset that students are distracted when they use laptops in college classes. They claim that students are paying attention to social media and games rather than to their lectures or seminars.

Really? Welcome to the New World, Professors!
Leave the Ivy League and join the League of Frustrated High School Teachers everywhere!Screenshot 2014-06-22 21.20.55

In an opinion piece June 15, 2014, Slate’s education columnist  opinion piece titled In Defense of Laptops in the Classroom had the tag line:

Sure, that student may be on Facebook instead of listening to the lecture. But he’s in college—let him make his own mistakes.

Her article was based on Dartmouth professor Dan Rockmore’s complaint that “any advantage that might be gained by having a machine at the ready, or available for the primary goal of taking notes, was negligible at best” for his curriculum.

There are high school, middle school, and even elementary school teachers who might agree with him, but the reality is that he nation’s educational testing systems have gone digital. In addition, education reform has brought about new evaluation programs that mandate teachers employ curriculum integrated with 21st Century skills. That means a digital device in each student’s hands at some time during the school day, or a teacher’s ranking can be lowered.

Forgive my lack of sympathy, but  college professors are exempt from similar evaluation mandates as they prepare students on the final leg of an educational journey. They get students who pay to hear them lecture.

Speaking of lectures, Schuman makes the same argument elementary, middle, and high teachers hear from those who promote digital platforms for instruction and assessment: the laptop is not to blame; teachers should use the technology more effectively and “and be engaging enough that students aren’t tempted to stick their faces in their machines in the first place.”

There is some small satisfaction that teachers and professors in all levels of education-Kindergarten through graduate level- are now dealing with the same distraction of technology.

O Brave New World, that has such laptops in it!




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