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schencka
_Inside Higher Ed_ comment: Laptops in class

I have the peculiar experience of teaching on various campuses, some where all the students have laptops, and others where no one has them. While I can understand Dean Dad's desire for streamlined, real-time scheduling, the laptop-with-wifi requirement has one major instructional effect: the students, with very little exception, totally tune out of all classroom interaction unless begged and/or reprimanded to shut their machines. Even when this is done, the students are still distracted because they're out of their "comfort zone" or simply disregard the instructor and rest the laptop screen for only a couple minutes, then bring the adult pacifier up again.

Last night I had an earnest young man tell me that he had to play a first-person shooter video game during class discussion "because of my ADD." I should've been more demanding (or snarky) but I relented on account of my ultra-contingent employment status. Just takes a couple student complaints to lose next term's courses, and it's double jeopardy around ADA students!

From Dean Dad's perspective, the faculty that stay non-electronic are hopelessly out of touch and possibly not doing their jobs, but could it be simply that they have made the choice to avoid the laptop-distraction-industrial-complex entirely? No laptops, no phones, just intellectual discussion -- sounds like real college to me.

No profanes - sacred
 
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