It was interesting, both through the readings and through class discussion, to consider the usage of laptops/cell phones in class. During undergrad, I used both laptops and cell phones for both helpful (i.e. looking up things, taking notes) and hurtful (getting distracted on unrelated websites, messaging friends) reasons. However, I also feel that if a student is going to get distracted in a class, they will get distracted whether they have the technology or not. The “On Banning Things in the Classroom” article made the point of “Collectively, I believe these studies suggest a better route than banning laptops is to ban lectures entirely,” which rang very true for me. Though I don’t believe we necessarily need to ban lectures, as the article says, I feel that if students are often getting distracted in the class (enough that they want to read through social media, etc.), there needs to be some sort of change in the classroom to make the material more engaging.
The article also made the point that students may not care about grades, which is a very true phenomenon – some students will not be grade motivated no matter how many penalties there are. Additionally, grading based on tests as most classes are can unfairly disadvantage some students (i.e. those with testing anxiety among other differences). In classes that banned cell phones and were not quite engaging enough, I feel that I regularly ended up zoning out or sometimes even falling asleep, as much as I didn’t want to do either of those things. I felt like I was getting distracted whether I had technology access or not.
However, having other devices is very useful for using online systems like kahoot or mentimeter. I much prefer these compared to iclicker, which was used commonly in my online classes, because students don’t have to buy a separate mode of technology. It’s also very useful to look up pieces of info as someone mentioned in class.
Overall, I am supportive of using technology in class, and I think it can aid students when allowed properly. Focusing on any one thing such as a lecture is difficult for more than 10-20 minutes. I think as an instructor in the future, I want to try my best to build engaging classroom settings such that students won’t want to use their technology as a distraction rather than banning it.