Computers in the Classroom

by Hugh

Have there been any studies about whether having computers & wifi in a class improve or diminish the success of teaching? I’m a bit of a luddite on this front: I suspect that students get distracted by their technology, and the great brain sucker, the Internet.

But I have no idea.

On the other hand, as a teacher (especially at university level) you should be able to be interesting enough to your students that lolcats will seem boring.

Anway, I’m of two minds on this, but sympathetic to teachers and profs who don’t want the web in their classrooms. From Language Labs Unleashed:

A professor I had last semester had a bad experience with her undergraduates and laptops, banned them, and noticed a dramatic change in her classes. She then decided that she would do the same thing with her Educational Psychology graduate course on CMC, (a course full of 30 and 40-somethings), due to seeing someone in class doing e-mail next to her and her being distracted by the typing sound. Needless to say, I was very upset. I simply cannot keep up when trying to write by hand, and the Internet access allows me to better challenge points raised in class that need challenging. I think I understood her position, but I didn’t agree with the policy.

When I put on my teacher cap, I can understand the urge for faculty to ban everything they can’t control, including the technology of the time. We’ve all heard the stories of the ballpoint pen being banned by faculty in the late 1940’s in favor of the fountain pen and the calculator in the 1950’s in favor of the slide rule. Faculty do have legitimate authority to control the classroom environment, and to eject students from class for anything they choose, including staring at a laptop screen instead of the professor, I guess. [more…]