24 Learning: Ban the laptop?

24 Learning

Friday, April 13, 2007

Ban the laptop?

This is an interesting article from David Cole. He has banned laptops from his law lectures. Students were surfing the web, checking emails, sms messaging friends etc during class. As I read the article I couldn't help thinking that one of the most obvious issues was that he was standing at the front of the class "sage on the stage" style delivering knowledge to his students.

He argues that

As for multitasking, I don't buy it. Attention diverted is attention diverted.

Mmmmmm????? This point is worth pondering. We are hearing a lot about "digital natives" whose brains are wired differently. To what extent does this impact our classrooms?

Yes there are times when lecture style delivery is just the most efficient way to communicate a body of knowledge deemed important. At those times then putting down the laptop may be a valid call but I want to know, how much of a students day is in this sort of class? At university where face to face time is a lot less than at school maybe it isn't such an issue. In school where we have the students for extended periods how much of the day is lecture delivery?

How many opportunities do my students get to ask questions, present their opinions, search for answers, clarify ideas, talk about their understanding and create new knowledge for themselves.
I think web2.0 tools allow some increased opportunities to engage in knowledge creation. For me... I'm still trying to integrate the laptop effectively into learning, I'm not ready to ban it just yet. :) What do you think?


Blogger Richard said...

This so typifies University and much of secondary education. I don't remember most of my university lectures as they were all delivered in this style, but by using a laptop I could listen, hear an interesting point and then follow that point through google or altavista as it was then.

1:53 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Reading David Cole's entire article I would have to agree with him. If I am in a room where someone is at the front lecturing and I have internet access I do all those attention grabbing things- I have learnt to turn the sound off now in case someone Skypes me. I have seen people start laughing aloud for no particular reason apart from an incoming funny IM.

It is disrespectful of the person at the front!

In my classroom we have exploring time when all laptops are on-line but when I call the class' attention I insist on all lids down and eyes this way!

Allanah K

1:53 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the greater problem is with expectations of etiquette. Watch a group of teenagers chatting to each other, some are texting at the same time, others are answering the phone. To the observer it is hard to distinguish any sense encrypted in the inane chatter. The fact is these people are communicating, they have evolved with the technology.

We should not ban it, teaching manners and responsible use is the only option.


2:12 pm  
Blogger Jason said...

I too am against banning laptops or any technology, but I have yet to see effective multi-tasking with laptops in my classroom. I do as Allanah does and have the students shut the lids and look at me while I give the directions. I test their multi-tasking abilities periodically by asking them what I said or if they understand, and they are clueless.

10:19 am  

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