An article today on the increased use of technology (particularly ‘smart phones’) on college campuses. I am really hesitant about such things.
I have a few comments. One person argued that these phones would facilitate more interaction. ‘Abilene Christian experimented with laptops in class, but “we weren’t pleased with what it did for us,” Rankin says. “The screens created a barrier between teacher and students.” ‘
I guess the argument here is that phones are less of an obstacle to interaction than laptops. What is strange is the seeming inevitability that we have to use technology somewhere along the way. What about those of us that think that both laptops and cell phones create unnecessary barriers between the teacher and the student?
And here is the most ridiculous argument (an argument for ‘educational gaming’):
‘A game called “Savannah,” which was developed in Britain using Mediascape, lets students play lions and gazelles whose geographic locations are tracked via cell phones. Whenever a “lion” finds a “gazelle,” the virtual gazelle gets eaten. But if the lions eat all the gazelles, they end up dying of hunger. “By the end, the kids learn the balance of life,” McKinney explains.’
Really? Did they really learn the ‘balance of life’ by having little lcd lions eat little lcd gazelles? Aren’t those students just dumber for having played that little game?
My attitude: If students want to play computer games and gab/text on cell phones, let them. But PLEASE let’s not start calling it ‘educational’ just so we don’t have to feel guilty about it.
All that said, maybe I am just a [fairly young] dinosaur. So much has changed so fast. I graduated from college in 1996, but my college and no email at the time, and no one but doctors owned cell phones (and they were giant). I heard some whispers about the coming ‘information superhighway’, but it meant nothing to me at the time.
Here is my question: are profs like me who dig in our heels against the introduction of these new ‘education facilitating technologies’ going to seem increasingly irrelevant? If a prof does not use technology in his class (podcasts, blogs, computer assisted lectures, …), do you think twice about the value of the class? In other words, does an old-fashioned books and chalkboard prof just seem like an irrelevant relic?