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 Education.Change.org, 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).