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Author Topic: When Computers Leave Classrooms, So Does Boredom  (Read 2888 times)

app103

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When Computers Leave Classrooms, So Does Boredom
« on: August 04, 2009, 04:40:51 PM »
Quote
College leaders usually brag about their tech-filled "smart" classrooms, but a dean at Southern Methodist University is proudly removing computers from lecture halls. José A. Bowen, dean of the Meadows School of the Arts, has challenged his colleagues to "teach naked"—by which he means, sans machines.

More than any thing else, Mr. Bowen wants to discourage professors from using PowerPoint, because they often lean on the slide-display program as a crutch rather using it as a creative tool. Class time should be reserved for discussion, he contends, especially now that students can download lectures online and find libraries of information on the Web. When students reflect on their college years later in life, they're going to remember challenging debates and talks with their professors. Lively interactions are what teaching is all about, he says, but those give-and-takes are discouraged by preset collections of slides.

He's not the only one raising questions about PowerPoint, which on many campuses is the state of the art in classroom teaching. A study published in the April issue of British Educational Research Journal found that 59 percent of students in a new survey reported that at least half of their lectures were boring, and that PowerPoint was one of the dullest methods they saw. The survey consisted of 211 students at a university in England and was conducted by researchers at the University of Central Lancashire.

Students in the survey gave low marks not just to PowerPoint, but also to all kinds of computer-assisted classroom activities, even interactive exercises in computer labs. "The least boring teaching methods were found to be seminars, practical sessions, and group discussions," said the report. In other words, tech-free classrooms were the most engaging.


zridling

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Re: When Computers Leave Classrooms, So Does Boredom
« Reply #1 on: August 05, 2009, 01:32:59 AM »
I can't believe how dependent (emotionally!) I am on the computer, or rather, what I do with mine. For me, it's a window into everything I don't know, and all the things for which I'm intellectually curious. At the same time, it irks me to go to the grocery store and see some jackass yacking at 87decibels on his bluetooth up and down the aisles or in line.

Time to redefine the classroom computer as a productivity tool, and not necessary for that 1-3 hours during lectures.

Lashiec

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Re: When Computers Leave Classrooms, So Does Boredom
« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2009, 08:56:50 AM »
Hm, I don't think the problem lies within the use of technology, and more with the use teachers make of technology.

Many teachers tend to rely solely on PowerPoint presentations or transparencies to impart their classes, effectively turning such class into a boring monologue which consists on one person speaking (actually reading what it's projected on the screen), and a bunch of youngsters simply listening to that person for one or two hours straight (although they can read the projected materials faster than the teacher can explain them), which as you may conclude it's an awful way to transmit knowledge to your pupils (the common opinion in my degree is that the worst teachers we ever had are those using such methods). This ends up wasting everyone's time, yours and your pupils, which could be invested into more productive matters, like allowing the students to read the materials at home and trying to understand them on their own.

I supposed that in other countries and colleges with a longer tradition of using audiovisual media in class would no longer have such problems, as the mantra used by those in charge of designing each faculty plan of study which consists in: "use transparencies, presentations, and other media to support your classes" would have long netted an actual effect on teachers, but sadly it looks like it's not the case.

zridling

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Re: When Computers Leave Classrooms, So Does Boredom
« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2009, 04:12:36 PM »
Even before the days of PowerPoint, I remember professors (usually in business classes) who loved those damn transparencies.

justice

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Re: When Computers Leave Classrooms, So Does Boredom
« Reply #4 on: August 11, 2009, 05:11:40 AM »
Same problem with computers in the workplace *cough* :P