Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Banning Laptops

The University of Ottawa is considering a proposal which would give its professors the power to ban laptops and other electronic devices in the classroom.

Professors say everything from texting to time on Facebook is allowing their students to do everything but learn.

"They are distracted and we are competing with that for their attention," says University of Ottawa professor Marcel Turcotte who voted in favour of the policy.

"You see one student who is really not listening, would be watching the video and then it's kind of contagious," says Turcotte.

But many students say they learn better with a laptop and the vice president of the university's student federation says it's an important tool.

"If you're going to be misbehaving during class, eventually you're going to be asked to leave and I can't see why they can't do that for laptops," says Liz Kessler of the University of Ottawa Students Federation.

Turcotte says he wants to do an experiment with his students, not ban the electronics outright. He wants to challenge students to leave the electronics outside the lecture hall and take a quiz, Turcotte is confident he would see higher test scores.

Turcotte says the cost of "disctracted learning" is hefty when considering some students are losing out on a pricey education.

The University of Ottawa will vote on giving the powers to professors in May.

With a report from CTV Ottawa's Catherine Lathem


Larry Geiger said...

Can't win this battle. It's already over. Banners will eventually be banned.

Now I'm an older (old!) guy and I think this "connectedness" is baloney. I have a phone that's connected to the wall with a wire. But this thing has already gone to far to put it back in the box. We are all going to have to learn to live with it.

I have chosen to ignore it. If someone types too loud in class, the other students generally will complain to the perpetrator and it usually gets solved. I still give "F"s for grades. I know in some places instructors feel bad when students don't work and then they feel they have to give them a "B". That's baloney also. If they spend the whole class on their pod thingy and failt then they get an "F". So be it.

As a society we will everntually work this out, but banning will not be the answer.

Gerry Carlson said...

Just saw your interesting post via Our Bible curriculum ministry team spent an interesting day last week at a large Christian school that is using our materials (and other publishers) in a digital environment. All students grades 4 to 12 are required to participate in the school's iMac lease program. We witnessed students being taught and participating with the laptops in class. The school was doing an outstanding job of utilizing the technology in the learning experience.

DRUM said...

Distraction is constantly worthy of our attention. Mark Eckel