Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Multitasking: A skill we should be grooming

I find this whole discussion of requiring students to “pay attention or else“ quite amusing. Needless to say, I come down on the side of the students — cause I‘m right there with them.

I sat through a talk at a conference recently on, “ Extraterrestrial Agriculture: The science and technology of living off the face of the earth.” This talk was pretty interesting actually, but space biology isn‘t exactly my area of expertise. The speaker included a lot of jargon and tech speak. Needless to say, I spent a good deal of time during the talk querying Google SMS looking up definitions. Without Google (and an EVDO equipped phone) I would have been clueless. Thank goodness for technology!

ars technica jumps into the debate, "The question of banning laptops in class: it's academic, silly".

Professors, academic deans, and even university IT staff are now finding themselves in a 'Net neutrality battle of their own, but this one might be better characterized as Pedagogy vs. Teh Intarweb. The same schools that rushed to bring "WiFi to Campus" are now turning it off, creating new policies, or rethinking their implementations. In rare instances, professors are banning laptops from the classroom altogether. Others have taken the approach of asking students to close laptops for periods of time, while others are looking for ways to remind students that participation in class is required—big screen in front of your face or not.

If we spent half as much time trying to improve our pedagogy as we did trying to control the learner… And what is with this mandatory attendance?