As bad as all the blocking and banning going on in K12 schools is, even worse is the attitude towards technology being displayed at some colleges these days.
A growing number of schools are turning off wifi in classrooms or even banning laptops from classrooms in an attempt to persuade students to pay attention to whatever it is the professor is talking about.
At least one college educator, however, has the right idea, one that many school administrators I know need to learn.
As both a technologist and an educator myself, I see both sides of the debate, but stopping the Internet from getting into the classroom is a waste of time. Students are not going to tolerate laptop bans in the classroom, especially in undergraduate education (graduate education is slightly different because of the change in interpersonal dynamics that come along with it). Professors are going to have to deal with the frustration of seeing their students giggling about “Snakes on a Plane!” during their lectures on Stoic passions. (Unless I happen to be teaching, at which point I’ll work the “Snakes on a Plane!” into the talk about the Stoic passions, just to keep everyone alert.)
He concludes the essay with another great point.
The bigger question is, if Joe Baccalaureate got through Econ 101 with an “A” while spending his time manicuring his rotisserie-style fantasy baseball team in lecture, what was the lecture for to begin with?
Something we should all be asking about our lessons.