Monday, December 13, 2010

Engaged Teaching or Leave? Is that the question when students text in class?

Much like our counterparts in schools, campus teachers are having to re-tool their practices to take advantage of the latest technology innovations in support of engaged teaching, and to respond thoughtfully and effectively to students who have ready access to media and technology (and know how to use it!).  The quest towards more innovative, responsive and engaged teaching practices can be an exciting adventure for some, and a long, hard slog for others - depending upon their teaching philosophy, the learning theory and perspectives behind their current practices, and their skill and creativity with technology. In fact, a colleague and I are currently researching how to use audience response systems in large lecture environments - it is a great learning journey!

A colleague sent me this recent Inside Higher Education article, entitled "Should Profs Leave Unruly Classes?". In brief, the article describes how some profs are choosing to deal with distractions and distracted students -- they walk out. Huh? I sent this along to my graduate students, who offered these comments:

1. "As we allow Student Owned Devices into all of the schools, we have encountered similar concerns. My argument is, if you engage the students, the you will not have the problem. Is it any different for students to be doodling in there “notebooks”. Profs, as with any educational professional, need to pick up their game. I’m not sure why they are concerned with student being off task in their class, the worst that will happen is that they will fail the class. These are my 2 cents."

2. "I agree... I think if kids are "doodling" with their personal devices, this can be a learning opportunity for the teacher or prof. What can they do differently to better engage students? True, we can put it on the students and say they will fail, but I think this is an attitude of complacency in our practice. Surely we can do better than that."

What do you think?  Have your say by commenting on this blog...


Nancy said...

I do agree with the not notion that involving students in real life learning and giving them opportunities to personalize their learning tasks will diminish this problem. However there are many things we need to learn and we need to be taught that are the "Ya have to brush your teeth" activities. For the boring little old tasks do we not need to remember the old good manners when we come to school and make a little eye contact now and then?

j said...

I suspect the students will be in for a bit of a shock when they hit the workforce.

I run a fairly small, very tech savvy, company. We have meetings, both face to face and virtual: my basic rule is turn off your cell/smart phones and move away from the computer.