Third Way!

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The article about Laptops and Phones in the Classroom: Yea, Nay or A Third Way? Clearly discusses the different points of views whether to use the technology in the class or completely forget about it. Like everything else in the world, technology could have pros and cons. To me it is interesting that teachers might have extremely different points of views toward the same issue.

What I believe about the technology is, basically there is nothing wrong with it. However, the procedures and instructions are in need of significant revisions. As a student, I had experienced the both environments. I remember I was in high school in which any sorts of “technological-related” devices were banned (phones, iPads, etc.). In that atmosphere, we had to focus more on the subjects that the instructor had been teaching us although it went really slow and sometimes boring. However, we were not distracted much from the lecture. I have to say that the distraction for some students even with those rules and disciplines happened sometimes, since they eventually found something to be distracted with.

Along the same lines, I remember a completely different experience, where students were allowed to have their phone and tablets with themselves in the classroom. Like it is mentioned in the article by Kamenetez as well, even more than third number of our searches were irrelevant to the topics in the class. I remember doing all sorts of things and not doing anything related to the concepts being taught in the class myself. Watching soccer games, checking out Facebook, or even playing games with other classmates during the lecture! which I know it was due to the lack of knowledge about how to use technology in a suitable manner. To be fair, it had some advantages too at that moment, the overall lecture was not that boring and the information more efficiently was transformed to the students. Even using apps at some point to control the students was not a practical idea, because that was a coercive approach and did not gain much at the end of the day. Students would do whatever they want to one way or the other!

Having the experience of both environments, I would say the best way that worked out for me was to be self-governing. If teachers showed us the benefits and importance of their work at beginning and encourage the students to participate in debates and hand-on activities, the students would not allow themselves to be distracted by any means. I guess a lot of us had this feeling in many classes that what’s the use of this stuff for us, what I am doing here! So we eventually forgot about the lecture after receiving the grades while we were not fully aware of the importance or the effects of it.  And that is the main reason of the distractions during the class. Distraction would happen no matter using technology in the classroom or banning it! But, the self-governed, motivated and happy-to-be-in-class student could prevent it from happening.

3 thoughts on “Third Way!

  1. Thank you for your post! You bring up a lot of good points about the complexity of using technology in the classroom. For me, I do not completely ban phones and computers from my class, but there have been class periods where I did tell students to put those things away (for example when we were having a guest speaker and I wanted first-year students to engage in dialogue with the speaker). But I really like this idea of being upfront with students and sharing why a particular topic might be relevant or important for them, discussing the positive and negative role that technology can have in a classroom, and engaging students in discussions and activities. Thanks for your post!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I agree with Amy, and I really like where you end up here: self-regulation seems like the best option. Also, I love the photograph at the top!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I do think that the whole argument about “To Ban or Not To Ban” is missing the critical issue at hand. I think that “Third Way” really hits the nail on the head. If a class is engaging in the first place, then there wouldn’t be issues of distractions, of whatever kind, in the classroom. Obviously, we should safeguard against students distracting other students, but do we have a responsibility to not allow students to distract themselves?

    I don’t think it is the teacher’s responsibility to “demand” the attention of students. As I said above, we should make sure they don’t distract other students. However, if we force information to unwilling students, then I’m not surprised that we lose their focus. If a lecture is not interesting enough to keep your attention, then focus on improving the lecture! I think the challenge is that with the introduction of laptops and phones, teachers are now asked to raise the engagement factor as well. And in that arms race, it is much more difficult to make lectures engaging than it is to make an app more distracting.

    So in that sense, we should all be working on learning how to teach in an engaging manner. Perhaps then, we will looking at the teacher rather than the laptop in front of us.

    Liked by 1 person

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