|The pen versus the keypad?|
|My new companion to every meeting|
Then, I (mentally) apologized to that student (who had received a mental eye-roll) earlier in the week. How can I become frustrated for something for which I am now equally guilty?
I love technology. I love the accessibility it gives my students and the way it eases my workload so I can communicate and contribute from a distance. It makes me more productive (generally). And it is changing the way we do many things in higher education. While many of us are expecting these big changes to continue to wash over us, we may not be on the lookout for the small changes in our students and ourselves.
In class yesterday, I said "refer to the textbook" and prepared for the onslaught of, "but I don't have my text!" I was pleasantly surprised to see many of the students pull out mobile devices, tablets, laptops, netbooks and pull up the e-book. It was a great moment. Of course, I then tweeted about it.
So before we judge the student for texting, let's reflect on the last meeting we sat through and how many professors had out their mobile phones, took a call, took notes on it, texted, or emailed.
So often we (professors) are concerned about the distractions of our students' technology items (status updates, IM-ing, texting, and generally not paying attention) and are reminiscing about the way things used to be that we can easily forget two things: 1) the things we may get frustrated about are likely the same things we are starting to do, and 2) there are many benefits of those same devices on our classroom environment.
Yes, we should still use technology politely and attentively when in a meeting or classroom. But, honestly, I can take notes faster on my iPad or Blackberry, email them or save them, and accomplish work faster during the meeting that would otherwise suck all of my time once the meeting ended. Should I fault my students for doing the same thing? They are using their e-calendars, their reminder-apps, their e-books, and yes, on occasion updating their social media. But before we suggest that students "put away the phones" we might want to consider the role those devices play in our learning environment--especially for our younger students who may feel more natural touching a key pad than holding an ink pen.