[Air-l] laptops and Internet access in class

Evelyn Grooten evelyngrooten at gmail.com
Fri May 18 07:55:21 PDT 2007

Hi all,

I've been a lurker for a while now on this list, but now I need to bud
in... I recently graduated, and I liked using my computer in class! I
find it very exciting to be able to google things that are mentioned
in class, and that I recognize, but don't really remember the
background from. Also, it makes a lot of sense to be IMing other
students about the subject, since they have a lot of other insights
and information on the topic. They can answer questions fast and
quietly, without having to interrupt the teacher. Next to that, it is
better to be typing, than to be whispering, every teacher will agree
with that, I think...

Banning the use of laptops and wireless networking would have
inhibited my own creative flow in class, as interesting links between
the topic of the class and my own interests would not have been able
to be pursued right away. If I have to wait until I sit behind a
computer to google something, I most likely forget and not do it.

so for me: Banning internet access is stopping creative flows!


On 5/18/07, Steve Jones <sjones at info.comm.uic.edu> wrote:
> There's one thing I've seen students do with laptops and wi-fi in a
> class that convinced me to not impose any kind of outright class-wide
> ban on using the technology, and that's IM-ing between one another in
> a situation where one student was more fluent in English than the
> other and would translate things for the less fluent student.
> I've often wondered what it would be like if I provided students with
> a back-channel via IRC for the class (and what would it be like if I
> projected the channel on a screen in front of the class)? What would
> students do with this (if anything)?
> If I had to make a binary decision I'd probably do it on a class by
> class basis, and try to take into consideration any number of things
> such as course content, the types of learning I'm encouraging most,
> the emphases I seek on particular forms of engaging the class, and
> the students themselves (among other things).
> What's been interesting to me is the reaction of students to teachers
> who are themselves looking at screens and not at the class. In
> general they seem quite put off by apparently not getting the
> attention of the teacher (even when it's not personal attention,
> directed at them individually, but attention to the class).
> Sj
> On May 18, 2007, at 8:36 AM, Julie Cohen wrote:
> > A colleague of mine recently published this op-ed in the Washington
> > Post:
> >
> > http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/06/
> > AR200704
> > 0601544.html
> >
> >
> >
> > He describes his reasons for banning his first-year students from
> > bringing laptops to class (they go into "stenographic mode", or they
> > surf and check e-mail, which distracts other students and detracts
> > from
> > the learning experience).  He reports that his students reacted
> > positively to the experiment (some of my own reacted quite negatively
> > when I mentioned they idea, but they were upper-years who had
> > self-selected to study IP/technology law).  He has also begun
> > campaigning to have us modify our wireless network so that it is
> > turned
> > "off" in classrooms during class time and/or to modify our entire
> > network to disable students' university e-mail and web accounts during
> > the hours that they're listed as being signed up for class.  I was
> > surprised to learn this, but apparently the U. of Michigan law school
> > has done both of these things and some other law schools are
> > considering
> > it.
> >
> >
> >
> > In the ensuing debate, many colleagues cited what I think are some
> > very
> > good reasons not to do the last two things, including: missed
> > pedagogical opportunities (both re use of the Internet for on-the-fly
> > research as subjects come up in class and re ethics of networked
> > technology use), cost, inequality as between students who use only our
> > network and students who can access other available wireless networks
> > via commercial accounts, and excessive paternalism.
> >
> >
> >
> > Now that the semester has ended, I expect the subject to come up
> > again,
> > and I thought I would see what members of this list think.  Most
> > specifically, I'm wondering (1) what you all say to colleagues who
> > react
> > to laptops and wired classrooms in this way; and (2) techniques
> > that you
> > use to encourage students to think about their own responsibilities re
> > networked technology usage.
> >
> >
> >
> > Thanks, Julie
> >
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> >
> > Join the Association of Internet Researchers:
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Evelyn Grooten
Ina Boudier Bakkerlaan 89 IV
35 82 XD Utrecht
the Netherlands
+31 6 206 260 99

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