Congrats to Dr. Scott McLeod (Dangerously Irrelevant) for being quoted in the article below. It’s fascinating to read this perspective, especially when you consider another one that’s been floating around on Twitter at, which is ironic. In that article, a Philosophy professor’s letter appears…here’s the relevant part:

I have read and heard arguments that say that, instead of banning phones in classrooms, we should put them to use to engage students and further their learning. I am a philosophy teacher, and I see no practical application for this approach in my classroom, nor do I have any inclination to pursue it. My students read texts, discuss them, and consider philosophical problems; I do everything I can to make our activities stimulating, and I make use of technological aids when appropriate, but can’t see how introducing more bells and whistles will bring anything more this process. I can’t consider their phones anything but a distraction.

One person’s engaging activity is another’s distraction. It all seems so subjective and dependent on your perspective. At the heart of the discussion isn’t engagement but the teacher’s desire to control ALL conversations occurring. If a professor can control the conversations, this perspective seems to say, then they can ensure students are learning…as if students weren’t already distracted by the myriad things going on in their lives. Wouldn’t it be better if students had the ability to distract, or engage, themselves about topics of relevance?

I consider this debate a waste of time, if not interesting in what insights it provides us into teachers, their “best practices,” and students…I’m finding myself less eager to play apologist for new technologies, their disruptive influence, and just do my best to unleash them in learning environments. Perhaps, I’ve been watching too much Star Trek Voyager lately, and Seven of Nine’s borg motto has slipped into my thoughts once to many times. Teachers? Students? Technology?

Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated. You WILL ADAPT.

So go ahead and argue this…in the end, technology will triumph. After all, you’re not still using a personal slate in your classroom are you? The technology is changing…change or die (click the link…it’s worth reading).

    • Beth Simon hasn’t banned her college students from using their cell phones or the Internet during class.
      Instead, the computer science professor encourages them to text message responses to her questions and research information on the Web while she is lecturing.
    • “How do you use this ubiquitous technology that’s out there to change the dynamic of the classroom, to engage the students?
    • fast-paced advancements have destroyed the boundaries of classrooms, said Glenn Platt, professor of interactive media studies at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.
    • Some professors make their lectures available as podcasts, provide live streaming video of classes and maintain discussion boards so students can post questions. They encourage tweeting, blogging and chatting online with other students.
    • Schools are catching on. Scott McLeod,
    • has a backchannel, an online secondary conversation, where students can share information, ask questions, such as ‘What did he just say?’ and chat about a concept while he is teaching it.
    • Professors are not so much people who stand and spout facts with students taking notes, said Platt
    • And students aren’t going to come to class for a lecture if it’s on a podcast.
    • He puts together mini-podcasts to explain confusing concepts and encourages students to ask questions on their Twitter page to get instant answers from their peers.
    • Professors are also using student response systems to gauge how well students grasp a lesson. The systems allow students to answer questions using a clicker, which looks like a television remote, and the results are immediately recorded on the teacher’s computer screen.
    • students seem to be embracing the interactive learning environment, so long as they can maintain one-on-one communication with their professors.
    • Technology is not going to go away, McLeod said. “Everything is going mobile, so this idea that we can control students’ access to technology is disappearing,”

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.