Monday, December 19, 2011

Laptops in Class: I say "Allow Them"

So, a debate between truth and craven falsehood over at KOSMOS.

With me, as always, taking the side of truth. Should laptops be required / allowed / prohibited in class?

Falsity gets its chance, arguing the "ban laptops! They are da debbil's woikshoppe!" tomorrow.

Excerpt: If you have to pay someone to attend you, that’s prostitution. If you have to force someone to attend you, that’s slavery.

I have never understood why so many professors believe that students must be prostituted or indentured. But that is what the “ban laptops” crowd is arguing: We can’t count on students to learn voluntarily. So we have to bribe them, or we have to force them to leave their laptops home.

Look, profs: If you seriously find that most of your students are daydreaming, facebooking, or cruising porn sites (not that that’s a bad thing…), you might want to try an old and honorable solution. Two words.

Stop.

Sucking.

12 comments:

piefarmer said...

True.
Just like the effort to ban cell phones in moving vehicles, the problem is not the technology. Drivers can be distracted by anything. What will they ban next, driving under the influence of the radio?

Some institutions mandate laptops for all students, which seems like an equally silly idea.

Anonymous said...

All of this can be easily minimized by simply walking unexpectantly to the sides or back of the classroom a couple times.

Don said...

or cruising porn sites (not that that’s a bad thing…)

Dude! Where were you when I was in College??!!

(Probably high school, but that's another story ;^).

Anonymous said...

Tommy the Brit remembers that as a young scholar, he asked the wise MM how to get students to come to your class--the answer was not "stop sucking" but rather "give pop quizzes." Sounds like he was telling me that students didn't learn voluntarily. Maybe I'm slow.

Mungowitz said...

Tommy makes a fair point, but misremembers the context slightly. The question was, "How do you get students to class ON TIME?"

Students who come in late disrupt the class and learning environment for everyone. I hate, hate, hate people who are late, late, late.

So the pop quiz at the beginning of class is a way of making sure people are THERE at the beginning of class.

As for attendance, I am indiffernt. Students can come to class, or not. But if they do come to class, they must be on time.

Anonymous said...

I had my firm belief that the best countermeasure to students Facebooking in class is a mesmerizing lecture rocked, but not toppled, by a request to turn off wireless access in a classroom by an accounting professor. Perhaps the first and only time I felt sympathy for the eye shade crowd.

HBanan said...

Embarrassment also works. I was a TA for a class taught by two professors, and we all sat in the back and could see the class taking notes and constantly shopping and checking Facebook. We didn't say anything or forbid this. After the 1st test, on which many students did poorly, one of the professors told them "We can see all of you talking on Facebook through class. Maybe if you spent less class time on Facebook and more time paying attention, you would have done better on the test." After that, only 1 student opened laptops in class, and he was only taking notes. I think this serves as another example of how shame can be more effective than rules.

laptops said...

I think just let kids use a laptop toys and teach them how to use it properly and not to use it in any satanic, pornographic and rebellion so if they wanted to have a real laptops, they already have knowledge how to use laptops.

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davechaoss said...

I was a teacher for a local college and students actually call other students out when they're doing things that aren't related to the class. I appreciated it but I also thought it was an invasion of privacy. Laptops are the best when it comes to taking notes and researching so it's a double edged sword. At the end, they have the right to do what they want to achieve the grade they're look for as long as it doesn't distract the students.