Posted by Southcott
As someone who’s straddled both sides of the educational aisle, I’ve been thinking about whether or not personal technology in the classroom is a help or a hindrance. It seems that there are some key issues at play here.
First of all, even if you wanted to ban all technology from the classroom (or any other arena in which someone is presenting), could you? Isn’t requiring people to turn off, tune out and listen up a fighting battle? How different is that, you might ask, from corporations and the media telling us how to listen, when to listen and why to listen? If we’re rebelling against the establishment, questioning authority, (and let’s face it, that’s part of the trend that social media is feeding, no?), then ain’t no stinkin’ professor going to tell us how and when to learn.
Wait just a minute… rebelling against the establishment… questioning authority… Hmmm, this is all starting to sound vaguely familiar.
Secondly, does someone who is using Twitter to find out how his buddy’s last bet in Vegas turned out, while texting his girlfriend via his iPhone, and using IM to chat with fellow classmates during a class lecture honestly missing out on a rich educational experience? Those slides will be posted to the class Web site later, right? What’s wrong with a little technological tinkering during class?
All right, let’s assume that you can play in the digital sandbox all day long, right through work, right through the commute, and then all through your evening grad school class. The question then becomes, how can that person teaching the class — you know, that guy who was up until 2:00 a.m. the night before putting together four hours of compelling information that you’re about to Twitter through — how can that professor leverage your inclination to multi-task several different technological platforms and improve your educational experience?
Said professor wants to know why (I say “if”) the shine is off that oldest of delivery systems in the classroom: Face-to-face communication. No technological conduit. Just one human being to another. That’s so old school, though, isn’t it? It’s been traded in for the newest, sleekest, smallest digital demi-god to hit the market (this week, anyway).
My question is, are we the better for it?
I’m just sayi’…