Sunday, October 26, 2014

No Electronics In Class

This seems eminently reasonable to me:
So this year, I moved from recommending setting aside laptops and phones to requiring it, adding this to the class rules: “Stay focused. (No devices in class, unless the assignment requires it.)” Here’s why I finally switched from ‘allowed unless by request’ to ‘banned unless required’.
We’ve known for some time that multi-tasking is bad for the quality of cognitive work, and is especially punishing of the kind of cognitive work we ask of college students. ...
Jonathan Haidt’s metaphor of the elephant and the rider is useful here. In Haidt’s telling, the mind is like an elephant (the emotions) with a rider (the intellect) on top. The rider can see and plan ahead, but the elephant is far more powerful. Sometimes the rider and the elephant work together (the ideal in classroom settings), but if they conflict, the elephant usually wins.
After reading Haidt, I’ve stopped thinking of students as people who simply make choices about whether to pay attention, and started thinking of them as people trying to pay attention but having to compete with various influences, the largest of which is their own propensity towards involuntary and emotional reaction. (This is even harder for young people, the elephant so strong, the rider still a novice.) ...
I assign Saturday School if I see a student accessing his/her phone in class.  The only exception I make is for students whose parents are deployed, for obvious reasons.


Auntie Ann said...

At my niece's school they required 7th grade to carry computers every day last year, and extended it to the whole school this year. The kids use them in class only about once a week or less. In addition, the language faculty have all agreed that there would be no computers in class, and only one of my niece's teachers ever uses it. I was talking to one teacher who acknowledged recent studies that show manual note taking is superior to computer note taking.

To me, as someone with a science background, this is a no-brainer; I never understood how you can take math or science notes on a computer. I think everyone is hoping that the whole school reverses course and eliminates the requirement.

Meanwhile, the students' heavy backpacks got even heavier.

Even worse, I believe that this move by private schools to require computers has led to LAUSD feeling it necessary to follow suit. If the privates weren't requiring it, would LAUSD have just blown a billion dollars on their failed IPad program?

maxutils said...

And … I want to qualify my last comment. Surely, any reasonable teacher would afford a student access to an urgent communication … the way you stated it, however, suggested that students of non-military families who had some form of emergency (for example, parent undergoing heart surgery) would be afforded the same courtesy. But I went for the snark, first, and I apologize for that.

Darren said...

If students need to receive an urgent message, it can go through the approved channels. I'm not going to play phone cop and determine whose message is important and whose isn't, students just aren't going to get messages on their phones during my class. I use my discretion in the case of deployed parents, whose ability to contact their kids is severely limited. Other than that, no.