Editorial: Technology use in class
February 18, 2015
With technology use on the rise, the need for classes to allow tablets, laptops, e-readers and iPads is becoming more critical. However, many professors are still hesitant to allow devices in the classroom, which puts students at a disadvantage. Professors’ decision to allow or ban devices should be based on the needs of that individual class rather than their personal feelings toward technology.
For example, literature classes should always permit tablets in class because many classic works can be accessed for free or at a reduced price online. It is quicker and cheaper to buy e-books than invest in pricey anthologies. The slim tablets are easier to maneuver around campus and thus less likely to be forgotten at home. When a class is based mostly on reading from and discussing a book, it makes little sense to ban tablets.
During class, students can also take notes on their devices instead of handwriting them. Whether we like it or not, cursive is a dying art form. In order to allow modern students to efficiently record material, professors must be more open to laptop and tablet use. It may actually improve classroom discussion because students will not be focused on writing down every word.
We understand there are exceptions to allowing technology in class. Obviously, it would be unfair to allow devices during exams. Additionally, there is no need for someone to be on a laptop in an acting or pottery class because those courses are more activity based.
Finally, if someone is abusing the privilege of using devices by surfing Facebook or failing to participate in discussions, there must be an unwritten agreement that the professor will ask the student to leave or revoke the privilege from the class if enough students fail to perform. However, most students deserve the benefit of the doubt rather than some professors refusing to even give them a chance to use technology.
In a recent Mirror survey, a sample of 43 professors showed that half are willing to always allow technology. While Lakeland College professors are leaning toward technology-friendly classrooms, the other half still only allow it sometimes or not at all.
Students are using their devices more than in the past, which means expectations need to change. Instead of banning technology completely in class, a middle ground can be reached in nearly every case, which can only benefit the students and even professors in the long run.