Marie Bjerede on Phones in the Classroom

Thursday, March 4th, 2010

Practically speaking, I’m finding verification and term and concept searching in the classroom quite handy. I encourage laptop and smart device use. Today we had to look up some questionable statists in an article from a student paper, finding interesting issues to spring from. The laptops and the cell phones are an interesting addition to student participation as this technology is much more ergonomic than a big screen at the front of the room. The inclusion issue, which is still questionable, I think, also augments realtime discussion: So this at O’Reilly:

A final observation is that having a digitally mediated component to the learning environment can be surprisingly inclusive. As teachers in Project K-Nect began to experiment with using the blogs and instant messaging for discussing math in the classroom, an unexpected (to us) dynamic emerged. It turns out that many kids who don’t like speaking up in class are completely comfortable speaking up online. Students who don’t like to raise their hands use the devices to ask questions or participate in collaborative problem solving. There appears to be something democratizing about having a “back channel” as part of the learning environment.

I find it interesting that not one of my Contemporary Fiction students has brought a laptop to class.


4 responses to “Marie Bjerede on Phones in the Classroom”

  1. Darren Bruno says:

    Using a laptop during class, especially the type you conduct (discussion based), makes the entire experience less personal, in my opinion. Staring at a screen is what we do all day long, I look forward to class because it isn’t conducted through a technological medium. Everything is far too techno-polluted (I made that up), and I guess I’m just a traditionalist.

    P.S. Editing in this tiny box is not easy.

  2. Steve says:

    Some types of content may indeed be intrinsically different, but this is he “pedagogical” question. Our lit course requires that we explore and think with what we have in our brains at the time, unless the students bring in more, such as content from other courses. What can we look up that will help? Not much, I don’t think. Comp’s different, though, in that we deal with evidence and appeals and we often need to consult other texts. In terms of Burroughs, what would we have sought out. Perhaps other readings?

  3. SMD says:

    I want to know when educators and adults alike are going to stop being shocked by things that make sense to the rest of us. Things like:

    –Kids are more likely to enjoy reading if you let them choose what they read. Turns out it’s true. Who knew?

    –Shy people will ask questions if they can use the net for such activities in class. Turns out that’s true too. Who knew?

    I mean, it’s great that these folks are bothering to pay attention now, but these aren’t great stretches of genius for anyone who was paying attention in the last 15 years. Being a new educator (yay composition studies and Freshman), these always seemed like obvious things to me.

    But maybe I’m weird.

  4. Joni Hall says:

    I agree with Darren. Being in class (Contemporary Fiction) is a great way to show how you read the assignments or chapters. Sure term searching is great, but it doesn’t supply the IDEAS needed to get through the text on your own. For instance, Geoffrey searching “Gnostic cosmographies” helped my understanding of the words together, but by reading through I got the general meaning by the sentence the words were in, and from then I got to think more about what Borges wrote and less about the language in which he wrote.
    I understand shy kids using the internet as a forum. I don’t really like speaking up in class myself all that much because I fear everyone thinks I “smoke” too much or that I’m extremely bizarre in my theories. But I know that if I had a computer in front of me I would be less inclined to delve into the material with the class, and REALLY take on a passion for what we’re discussing. In general, it’s distracting and takes away from experience and learning (to me).
    [/rambling]