Jump to content
MC_Otter

higher ed "No Technology Policy" in Class

Recommended Posts

I don't know about everyone else, but I hate when professors tell me that they have a "no technology policy" in their classes. Of course, I have 3 this semester. So rather than having all of my notes and handouts already in Evernote, I take my notes by hand and then immediately scan them in when I finish the day. Not ideal, but still works.

Does anyone else have these kinds of classes at their schools? How do you like to handle them?

Share this post


Link to post

I don't know about everyone else, but I hate when professors tell me that they have a "no technology policy" in their classes. Of course, I have 3 this semester. So rather than having all of my notes and handouts already in Evernote, I take my notes by hand and then immediately scan them in when I finish the day. Not ideal, but still works.

Does anyone else have these kinds of classes at their schools? How do you like to handle them?

Hi. As an instructor, I've contemplated instituting such a policy, but in the end, for various reasons, I have not. Other instructors at my university, though, do have this policy. If I were taking their classes, I'd use the new Moleskine + Evernote combination. Handwriting + scanning is nice, though. I use the iPad for handwriting myself, but paper or iPad, it isn't a big difference. Just an extra step + paper waste.

Share this post


Link to post

Hi. As an instructor, I've contemplated instituting such a policy, but in the end, for various reasons, I have not. Other instructors at my university, though, do have this policy. If I were taking their classes, I'd use the new Moleskine + Evernote combination. Handwriting + scanning is nice, though. I use the iPad for handwriting myself, but paper or iPad, it isn't a big difference. Just an extra step + paper waste.

I was definitely excited to get the Moleskine at ETC and will be using that for one of my classes. I have also used my iPad for handwriting. Paper is always my last resort for classes that I have no other choice in.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

Using tech in clas is always an advantage for students, but if there is a policy like that, then we'd just have to abide.

Share this post


Link to post

I Just finished two degrees at University. Are you kidding me? A 'no technology' policy? Yes, technology can be a pain. Yes, technology can be distracting. But given that Google has just built a massive data centre costing 1.6 Billion in Redmond, I don't think cloud computing or technology is going away any time soon. I worked with some younger (MUCH younger) students who wanted to write everything by hand. That is dinosaur thinking. It doesn't enable you to cope with the real world where you are expected to be able to use and interact with technology in the appropriate ways.

Use of tablets removes the annoying sounds that are associated with notebooks and laptops. Rather than a 'no technology' policy, maybe a frank discussion with students on enhancing their learning would be more appropriate. BTW I am 52 and din't learn to use computers until I was 41. I am old enough to have used and remember carbon paper, gestetners and typewriters. You'd have to be mad to want to go there again.

Kath

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

To play devil's advocate here, technology can put a barrier between people when you want to have frank, in-depth, engaging, and challenging debates on a topic. That's one of the reasons you don't pull out a laptop at dinner, presidential debates don't use iPhones, and even the Evernote folks put them away when doing podcasts. A lecturer banning electronics is hopefully not doing it just to be a dinosaur, but to consciously craft a learning environment that will achieve a higher level of engagement.

There is a time and a place for technology, of course, and no one publishing today can avoid it. Banning it in class doesn't mean anyone wants final papers turned in with students' scrawls. Not every class needs to be seen as training for using the cloud. If the professor is just delivering a lecture, then there isn't much point to the ban. Most classes I have taught, though, aim to create an educational experience, and not just impart a few facts and figures.

I have to strongly disagree with your characterization of students usin pen and paper. The technology is powerful, especially for the creative process, and it helps you to learn material in ways you cannot with a tablet or PC. As a concrete example, learning Chinese and Japanese requires you to write by hand, otherwise the characters don't tend to stick, and a tablet + stylus remains a poor alternative. More generally speaking, I tend to remember better through writing by hand, and I have met a lot of people who feel the same. There is a muscle memory there that tapping on a keyboard cannot match.

You might be surprised just how advanced those dinosaurs can be! Scan those pages in, tag them, and have them OCR'd to create notes that are in many ways richer than text typed into a word processor. The recent Moleskine integration merges the two worlds of digital and analog nicely. In the words of my favorite philosopher: “Don't be too proud of this technological terror you've constructed. The ability to destroy a planet is insignificant next to the power of the Force.” 

I don't have a policy against tech, but I do understand why someone would, and a thoughtful implementation could have beneficial results.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

Thanks for the thoughtful and thought provoking reply. I find myself in the unusual position of seeing both ends of the argument, in that whilst I acknowledge the sense of your discussion, I cannot argue with my own personal experiences. I think the key to the whole debate lies in your words 'thoughtful implementation'. The Professor who bans tech simply because students use it in a way that does not accord with the Professor's own personal expectations is still not learning and growing and is really preventing the students from coming to grips with technology that they will have to use in the real world.

There is a strong mind/hand connection. I draw mind maps all the time and upload them to EN. I'm not saying that we shouldn't use pencil and notes if we want to do so. My gripe is being forced to use pencil and paper to write long winded class notes instead of really engaging with the material that is being taught as you are trying to get the gist of it down on paper instead of really thinking about it. The very best lecturer I ever had didn't care if we wrote it on our hands or used technology. He knew each of us after the first week and asked questions during the lectures that made us think, made the time go fast, and provoked responses from the class. That, to my mind, is the essence of teaching.

But education isn't just what you are taught. It's what you choose to learn. And that rests with the individual.

Share this post


Link to post

Thanks for the thoughtful and thought provoking reply. I find myself in the unusual position of seeing both ends of the argument, in that whilst I acknowledge the sense of your discussion, I cannot argue with my own personal experiences. I think the key to the whole debate lies in your words 'thoughtful implementation'. The Professor who bans tech simply because students use it in a way that does not accord with the Professor's own personal expectations is still not learning and growing and is really preventing the students from coming to grips with technology that they will have to use in the real world.

There is a strong mind/hand connection. I draw mind maps all the time and upload them to EN. I'm not saying that we shouldn't use pencil and notes if we want to do so. My gripe is being forced to use pencil and paper to write long winded class notes instead of really engaging with the material that is being taught as you are trying to get the gist of it down on paper instead of really thinking about it. The very best lecturer I ever had didn't care if we wrote it on our hands or used technology. He knew each of us after the first week and asked questions during the lectures that made us think, made the time go fast, and provoked responses from the class. That, to my mind, is the essence of teaching.

But education isn't just what you are taught. It's what you choose to learn. And that rests with the individual.

It's nice to have a discussion about this. I think we basically agree. Although I respect the decision of other instructors to ban tech, I decided not to do it in my classes. I think we're all wired differently, and learn in different ways, so rather than force everyone into the Procrustean bed of my choosing, I prefer to encourage them to explore different ways of reading, writing, listening, and speaking. In the process, hopefully they not only find what works best for them, but gain an understanding of what works for other people. I can't say what technological tools will be used in the future for work, but critical thinking faculties, a deep knowledge of oneself, some knowledge about various subjects, and the ability to engage in a genuine exchange of ideas with others will stay with you for the rest of your life. We close our laptops and put down our pens sometimes to give our undivided attention to a presentation or a discussion of some text, but I prefer to leave it up to the students the rest of the time. They know what is best for them, and if they choose Facebook, they might actually be on the right track -- sometimes we get hired more because of who we know than what we know :)

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

They know what is best for them, and if they choose Facebook, they might actually be on the right track -- sometimes we get hired more because of who we know than what we know :)

That's such a good point! Everyone learns in such different ways and I think that everyone should have their choice. Most of the professors that I've spoken to about their policies only have them in place because they think that their students will spend class on Facebook rather than listening to lecture. But just because you take away a student's laptop, doesn't mean that they will pay attention.

But no matter what a professor's policy is, at least we can still search all of our notes!

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post

I haven't banned technology in my classroom, and am not planning to at all (although I do not begrudge a professor from running a class how they see fit). Have I caught students on Facebook, etc while in class? Absolutely. However, the more they are tuned out, the more it impacts their grade. Most of the time, they are tuned in. Being in front of the classroom, you can really tell who is tuned in and who is tuned out anyway, even if you can't see their computer screen (or even if they don't even have one, lol). In any event, they paid the tuition...it's up to them to use the time and what they paid for (or their parents paid for) wisely. I'll announce a nice reminder about staying tuned in to what we are talking about, but beyond that, I am not a babysitter or their parent. The rest is up to them. My hope is that most of the class is using the technology to their educational advantage, and I believe that is easily happening in my courses.....it's way more of a help than a hindrance. About the only time I will ban any access to technology is during a test. No one can even touch any electronic items (or anything else) during exams for obvious reasons.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post

I, too, am taking 3 classes that have a no technology policy this semester. At first, I was a bit peeved. I've been using Evernote for quite literally every part of my life, and it upset me to think that I couldn't incorporate my school work seamlessly into my life. Not only that, I felt like I was DECREASING my productivity just trying to get all my school work organized without being able to use Evernote. I was bombarded with syllabi, powerpoint slides, and handouts on my first day of class and was not happy about it, especially since I'm striving to become as paperless as possible.

All that being said, after going through my first full week of school, I'm slowly beginning to better understand the reasoning behind my professors for implementing this policy. So here's my 2 cents on the policy, in my point of view :)

1. No laptops = more student engagement and less distraction. As GrumpyMonkey said,

To play devil's advocate here, technology can put a barrier between people when you want to have frank, in-depth, engaging, and challenging debates on a topic.

I can definitely see that, especially with my discussion-based business classes. True, with the massive growth of technology, students need to learn how to use technology more effectively and also develop a level of self-control (i.e. learn to not always check Facebook in class). However, especially with the courses I'm taking now, having a laptop in front of me, or even a tablet, does make me feel less engaged, even if I'm not on Facebook. Just the opportunity to send out an email or look up directions to a restaurant during class is distracting for me, personally. The nature of technology is that you can do so much with it, so it's hard to not get distracted with a device in front of you, especially when a professor is moving slowly through a lecture.

2. It's definitely annoying that I have to take an extra step to gather my notes into one place and attempt to reduce clutter. I don't have a ScanSnap or LiveScribe pen, but Christmas is coming up, so who knows what'll happen :P

I will say that it hasn't been as bad as I thought. I'm lucky because all my professors post up their syllabi, power points, and articles up online, as well as additional readings, so it's really easy to drag and drop these files into my Evernote. I've created a notebook for each class and have already put all of these into Evernote for my reference. I do a lot more listening in class than note-taking, which has kept me more engaged. Outside of class, I type up my notes if I think they're important, which is a good way for me to review what I've learned.

En sum, a no technology in class does not mean I can't use technology for my schoolwork. Evernote is still a great data compilation and retrieval tool that I can use as a student. It is a shame I can't access it in class, but that doesn't stop me from using it for school.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post

Those are great points! I can also see the benefits of it for some classes. In discussion based classes, it definitely can make sense.

En sum, a no technology in class does not mean I can't use technology for my schoolwork. Evernote is still a great data compilation and retrieval tool that I can use as a student. It is a shame I can't access it in class, but that doesn't stop me from using it for school.

That is a great point! It definitely doesn't stop me from using Evernote for school either. Plus it's giving me a chance to try out the new Evernote Moleskin :)

I can also see the reasoning behind a no tech policy. In discussion based classes, it definitely can make sense. And thankfully, as you said, it's still a great tool that's available to us outside of class!

Share this post


Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...