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.