The Fight for Classroom Attention: Professor vs. Laptop

Posted: June 12, 2006 in Gibberish Blabber

Harvard does a go against Laptop computers during Lectures

As I was reading some online B-School article, I came across this really disturbing pieces of news
"Professors worry that as wireless networks and laptops become ubiquitous, students will direct about as much attention to the front of the room as airline passengers do to a flight attendant reviewing safety information. To keep students focused on class, some professors now ban laptops from their classrooms, arguing that the devices are just too much of a temptation".
Disturbing news specially as I am about to begin my journey to B-School. This was all I was dreaming of, surfing away porn when the prop is speaking inscrutable crap, or downloading latest MP3z when the prop has given time for self discussions 😀
Professors worry that as wireless networks and laptops become ubiquitous, students will direct about as much attention to the front of the room as airline passengers do to a flight attendant reviewing safety information.:D i think this speaks volumes about the confidence level of the props, the amount of faith they have in their abilities and the subject they teach so as to pitch in for student attention.
"You'll say something, and you'll see these chuckles from a couple of people," says Norman A. Garrett, a professor at Eastern Illinois University's business school. And that leaves him wondering. "Is what I said funny, or are they not even in the same universe as I'm in because they're looking at the Internet?"
Darmouth and Harvard are actively considering a system in which the professor will have the option of switching off wireless internet during a class, at the click of a button. In fact, bluesocket the company which developed the wireless network and management system at Harvard Business School, has already implemented a system which can be used by instructors to limit or restrict wireless access during specific class times and individual areas. When a student tries to log in and finds the system denying access, the system would display a message, “You can't log in because you should be in class now, please try again when class ends.”
This was very very comical :D, though I could almost visualize the sullen and hung heads of  the Harvard Grad Students! J What’s to blame? Poker, of course. Well, poker along with other sorts of attention-distracting activities such as surfing, IM’ing or even—ahem—blogging!
Plenty of colleges and universities across the country are also wrestling with how to deal with students using wired and wireless network access to illegally download and share music files, both in the classroom and in dorm rooms. Not to mention the menace of pornography and other sexually explicit materialJ
I sit here and wait for the day, which is just around the corner, when time comes for me to set sail; and just hope that that the latest wi-fi system in IIM-Kozhikode is not turned off either during class hours or after that.  After all, this is one of the only perks that we enjoy for being 18+ 😀

  1. hi.. . hardlyt agree with you here Cheetos. Actually.. it is very easy to generalize things from our part that most profs are waste or their subjects are crap. From my experience I know that even when the best prof is explaingin the best of all the theories in most elocuent manner, it is not very hard to get ditracted by freaky things wireless thing like cell phone and laptops.

    defintely I never had luxury of being in this situation, but here in co, when I for a training and find net enables PC in front of me.. it was hard to stay away.

    I also belive in self-controld and self-discipline, but tell me very frankly how much do you actually control your self and mind your business.

    I am not sure if you had ever been in the shoes of prof or faculty or teacher. Try that, play the revers character and see how much frustrating it is. And yeah, I know that you take pride in your control over the language, elocution and ability to present.

    Not trying to blame anybody here, just trying to give different perspective to your view. Keep writing….

  2. Cheetos says:

    Very Well Put DIPEN,
    I may not completely agree with you but your’s is a different point of view which I do acknowledge as not completely baseless. But trust me ‘dedicated’ as I am, I actually attended some of the official trainings quite seriously, and the reason for doing that was multifold.
    1) The subject was of interest to me and I was willing to put an effort to learn
    2) The facilitator was quite adept and proficient at his task and made a good learning experience for us
    3) The Environment was conducive to a constructive learning experience

    Coming to the point, Internet is hardly a temptation in today’s world. Its almost like saying, people should be gagged in any office environment as they might otherwise retort to chatting and gossiping amongst themselves, thereby resulting in a loss of productivity.

    At the end of the day, when you come to think of it, it is not that absurd a possibility; but we do know for sure, that more often than not people do not do so; whether it is for inherent dedication or for other intangible factors.

    Similarly, I believe while there is a possibility that students might end up wasting a lot of time in the internet, but it is reasonable to assume, that once the bubble is burst, i.e. once the students have acclimatized themselves to the free and unrestricted internet access, they would use it more as a resource than as a tool to waste their precious time; at least the SERIOUS ones… The others are really a misfit and hence inconsequential to our analysis!!

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