Shame On Those Pesky, Distracting Laptops

“Recent studies suggest that laptops in class detract from lecture-based learning”

Lecture-based learning?  Isn’t that an oxymoron?  How much can you really learn by sitting and soaking?  :)

Okay, so I’m showing my constructivism bias here.  The article I am reading, Can I have your half-attention, please?, actually is an interesting read about how instructors are getting over their technophobia (and themselves in the process) and finding ways to integrate laptops into learning.  It also shows how other instructors misunderstood what is going on in their class before laptops.  I was one of those students that zoned out and started doodling on my notes to pass time until lecture was over.  If I had a laptop, I bet I would have paid more attention, because I could have double checked the instructor’s facts while he/she was talking.

Educators like Don Krug and Richard Smith are really getting the idea about laptops (even though they both seem to come at the issue from two different angles), while others like Jean Boivin are just missing it.  Too bad the ones that miss it have some questionable research to back them up.  I hope we get some better designed research studies on this in the future.

Matt Crosslin
Matt is currently the Learning Innovation Coordinator with the UT Arlington LINK Research Lab. His research focuses on Learning Theory, Innovation, and learner empowerment. Matt holds a Ph.D. in Learning Technologies from the University of North Texas, a Master of Education in Educational Technology from UT Brownsville, and a Bachelors of Science in Education from Baylor University. His research interests include instructional design, learning pathways, sociocultural theory, heutagogy, virtual reality, and open networked learning. He has a background in instructional design and teaching at both the secondary and university levels and has been an active blogger and conference presenter. He also enjoys networking and collaborative efforts involving faculty, students, administration, and anyone involved in the education process.

One thought on “Shame On Those Pesky, Distracting Laptops

  1. Good post and the article provides some insight in the thought process of most professors. A majority of them don’t understand what a wonderful opportunity they have to engage their students. A few ‘get it’.

    The instructors who have been around for a long time and almost never adjust their courses from year to year will dismiss laptops and almost any other technology as a “disruption”. Those that are willing to change, will find a way to incorporate the use of tech (web 2.0 tools, chat, cell phone, etc.) into their curriculum.

    The world has changed since straight lecture based learning was one of the only modes for learning in HE. There are so many ways (many free and easy to learn) for professors to incorporated tech into their lectures.

    Reminds me of an article I read a little while back:
    The Three-E Strategy for Overcoming Resistance to
    Technological Change

    http://connect.educause.edu/Library/EDUCAUSE+Quarterly/TheThreeEStrategyforOverc/47686

    I like the quote from the Educause link above:
    “…the practitioners were forced to use the technology
    given to them without consideration for their real needs
    or even whether there were critical shortcomings in the
    technology. Given the option, they would have discarded
    the technology as a nuisance rather than essential.”

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