Teaching as acting

Bring Laptops to the class has been controversial since laptops became public affordable. In engineering classes, it becomes common that laptops are needed to help the students to solve problems. Laptops come a part of human’s “extended” brain, especially in the computer-aided design field. Professors start teaching students computer tricks and think these tricks are essential for future engineers. There are other voices believing that laptops in class will do worse than better. They draw the students’ attention away from the lectures. One example from Darren Rosenblum (Leave Your Laptops at the Door to My Classroom) shows that forbidding laptops in class improved the students’ engagement.

With new technologies, people tend to seek more efficient ways of doing things. Research papers follow a certain structure so that readers can grasp the information quickly. Authors put graphic abstracts at the beginning of papers. We read blogs on our way to the offices or homes. Still, the producing of blogs is always faster than our capacity of reading. It seems the time that we can spend on the internet is almost infinite. That fact makes people panic. It makes some people panic because they want to grab some time and it seems the queue ahead of them is just endless.

But, why should they wait? They can compete and win the time back.

There are certain things in this world cannot be accelerated, because time, itself, is an important property of those things. One most obvious example is music. You do not fast forward a piece of music because it will just destroy the piece.

I don’t see people clicking on their facebook or twitter in a movie theater, because they spent all their attention on watching the movies. I realized that watching movies is just as tiring as reading books. But they still concentrate, for that one and a half hours. A documentary is as informative as a college-level class, and there are a group of people spend time watching it. I foresee that some excellent educators are also good performers. An eye-catching class can be broadcasted as a movie. And the outsiders exist. They are immune to the class. We should acknowledge the existence of those students. Just like each movie has a target group of audiences.