Saturday, January 24, 2009

Alan Jacobs: Internet in the Classroom

Alan Jacobs:
I spend a good deal of time talking to my students about technological resources available to them, and trying to get them to use those resources well and wisely. I think it’s pretty clear from this blog that I am anything but a Luddite or techno-skeptic. But I do not want any internet access in my classrooms. I forbid laptops in the classroom altogether. I teach literature, and I believe that my primary job in the classroom is to instruct students in better use of the technology of the book. There is no more evidently false assumption than the assumption that people — even academically successful people — are comfortable with books and use them well.

Every class I teach is focused in one way or another on helping people understand how books work and how to get the most from them. We can unplug for three hours a week or so in order to pursue that goal, can’t we?

I agree--except that if it were a lecture-based class, I might allow laptops (to take notes), but only if the students were prevented from having internet access (perhaps that's impossible to overcome in some situations).

In my view, the costs of emailing, being online, instant-messaging when you are supposed to be listening, writing, engaging, etc. seriously outweigh any occasional benefits.

Agree or disagree?