In her article, Anya Kamenetz explores different attitudes towards using electronic devices in the classroom. While some teachers find this habit as “distracting”, “unhealthy”, and useless others see positive points in using laptops and cellphones during classes. After reading this article, I really could not decide whether I am happy with using of laptops or cellphones in the classrooms or not. To be more precise, I am skeptical about the approaches to control how and to what extent students should use these kind of devices.
My concern is about the students’ ability to choose what they want to learn. I believe there is a different between a primary school pupil and a college student. The former does not have the control over the content he/she is going to learn. For the good or bad, all of us have to learn some level of math, literature and sciences by a certain age. This makes me think, if we do not “choose” what to learn then we allow ourselves more freely to be distracted as soon as we lose our interest in the topic/teacher/and etc.
Therefore, in my view in K-12 education, to the point that students are forced to take and learn a course, “self-governing” sort of policy for using laptops and cellphones not only is not fair but also does not make sense! We have not given them the primary freedom to choose what they want to learn and then we expect to have all their attention in a democratic way!
However, when it comes to college because of the freedom to choose the courses, asking students to use laptops and cellphones upon their will, makes sense and is fair. Although, there might be many other incentives to take a course (getting a certificate, and etc.) rather than pure interest, yet due to the inherent optional characteristics of the university courses, students feel more internal obligation to focus on the course material. In this case, self-governing over technology is in line with the values of higher education!