Sunday, June 15, 2008

Laptops in Class

In the Leander article, teachers deplore how students use laptops during class to write blogs, check email, or play computer games.  At the same time, Lankshear and Knobel back in Chapter 2 suggest that such off-topic multi-tasking might be helpful because many students are still able to learn and stay involved in classroom activities while staving off apathy and boredom.  What do you think?

6 comments:

Genna said...

That is a hard question. I think it is situational. There will be classes and lessons that will lend themselves to multi-tasking and then there will be those that won't. From my students teaching placement I could say there would be classes that I think I could have allowed to multi-task eventually after building a community and respect in the beginning of the year and also classes that I don't think I could have let multi-task because focusing on just one thing was difficult enough.

Heather said...

It is VERY situational. I think what didn't stick out to me in the article was how the laptops are just a tool. The learning can happen without them. I guess I am always a little wary of the excessive value given to technology in the classroom because of how often huge resources are put into bringing technology in only to prove unused or ineffective. Bright, shiny technology isn't always the answer even thought its is often pretty cool. My aunt teaches in a one room school in Eastern Oregon. Without technology they would be cut off from so much information and other school communities. To me, the laptops are critical in her situation. However, I really feel she would still find a way to teach effectively, even powerfully without those laptops. She has just found a way to use the technology as a tool. She said she will never use it just to use it. It has to actually contribute to the learning. I think this speaks to how much teachers matter in these decisions.

Kelly H said...

Good points... Technology is a good thing, but too much of a good thing can be bad. This generation of students are incredible multi-taskers, but we must be careful to keep students socially engaged with the class as well.

Hali Resney said...

I agree...I think it depends on the situation, as well as the student. For me, I have thought about bringing my laptop solely for the purpose of not taking, but I am hesitant because I might be distracted with it at the same time. However, if a student learns by multitasking, then I don't think it would be an issue. It is hard though to monitor each students use in the classroom. I think incorporating technology, such as laptops, into the classroom is good, but has to be monitored and used appropriately.

Tamara Niquette said...

I completely believe that it lies in who the student is. Some people need complete silence to do homework yet others need music or tv in the background. I think the same sort of idea holds in a classroom. Some students need something else to do while listening to the teacher. I was always a doodler... until I got to college and it was okay to bring a laptop to class. I switched from doodling to a laptop. I need to multi-task to concentrate otherwise I get bored and listen even less than I would before. At the same time I know people who, with a laptop in front of them, would not listen to a word being said outside of their activity. So it's all personal.

Heather said...

I've continued to think about this. When we integrate technology as per standards, all too often we have not really sorted out EXACTLY what we want from technology. For such a resource sucking effort, this has shown to be wasteful, even dangerous. So, what to do? Here's my idea ... there are two (for now) types of useful tech integration in the classroom; tech that enhances education, tech that generates education. Who the students are has everything to do with what kind of tech it is, not the ware. Now, if I want to commit resources to tech that enhances education, I'll want to take the risk when the resources cannot be more useful somewhere else that I know to work for my students. However, for tech that generates education, my willingness to risk resources is far greater even at the expense of a proven use of resources. Either way, it is too expensive (time, money, effort, street cred) an effort to simply throw a $1000 lap top at and walk away pleased with ourselves expecting technology to save the day. I can understand thinking like that in the past but, we have become much too technology sophisticated to continue this way.