×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Estonian Tech University Bans Notebooks and Smartphones

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the also-pencils dept.

Education 134

J-Georg writes "In Estonia's Tallinn University of Technology, all electronic devices — like notebooks, tablets and smartphones — are now banned in lectures held by the Institute of Public Administration. The restriction, which according to the institute aims to reduce factors interfering with academic work, came as a surprise to most of the university-goers. Moreover, it came just a day before the country's Ministry of Education announced a plan that by 2020 all textbooks and other literature would be turned into e-books and in eight years students are expected to start using computers and tablets to access study materials."

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

134 comments

hahaha (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38902133)

America doesn't do crap like this eurofags.

Re:hahaha (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38902221)

Fuck off back to 4chan.

Re:hahaha (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38902401)

Fuck off back to ponychan eurofag

Re:hahaha (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38902463)

In American universities, you will be forced to buy thousands of dollars of new dead tree textbooks, because the old ones are revised and no longer valid. Capitalism at it's finest.

Re:hahaha (3, Insightful)

Moheeheeko (1682914) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902657)

And by revised we mean 4 words in chapters 2 and 3 were changed for better sentance structure. But no, the older on is obsolete and unuseable, so not only will we not buy it back but we will make everyone else buy a brand new $300 textbook.

Re:hahaha (1)

LordLimecat (1103839) | more than 2 years ago | (#38903961)

Not sure what school you go to but every class Ive taken we have been free to rent or buy the older editions for much cheaper. Obviously, its "at your own risk", but when youre renting for $20 for a semester its hardly a big risk.

Re:hahaha (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38903631)

No wonder every russian joke about estonians portraits them as being 'slow'.

Understandable. (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38902153)

I'm in a lecture right now and haven't paid attention the entire time.

I think laptops etc. are a really bad idea in lectures. I should really stop bringing mine.

Re:Understandable. (3, Funny)

masternerdguy (2468142) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902159)

But when else are you going to post on Slashdot?

Re:Understandable. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38902261)

ehl oh ehl

Re:Understandable. (3, Insightful)

Nursie (632944) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902487)

Don't worry! There will be more than enough time for that after college. I think they call it an office job...

Re:Understandable. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38902661)

Hey that's me!

The problem is the lectures, not the laptops. (5, Informative)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902251)

When I went to college I didn't have a cellphone or a laptop. I still spent plenty of time not paying attention to the lectures. For most people it is impossible to sit and listen and pay attention the whole time. The problem is the lectures, not the laptop.

Re:The problem is the lectures, not the laptops. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38902297)

"for most people"

You meant "for some morons"

Re:The problem is the lectures, not the laptops. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38902515)

I'm pretty sure that's not what s/he actually meant. Fuck off.

Re:The problem is the lectures, not the laptops. (4, Interesting)

Trepidity (597) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902325)

Yeah, there's been dozens of people who've noticed that the university lecture is a really poor way of conveying information, which maybe suited a bunch of philosophy students gathering to hear Hegel hold forth at length, but not much else. But, nobody has come up with a way of doing it better that fits existing economic/institutional constraints. More interactive classes require higher teacher:student ratios and better teachers (uni professors' incentives don't favor good teaching, since they're judged approximately 5-15% on teaching, 85-95% on research), and are more difficult to plan. I still think Seymour Papert was at least partly on the right track.

Re:Hold Forth at Length (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902505)

I think that Holding Forth at Length is terrible in some classes, especially Philosophy!

It works pretty well for many classes, like History or Humanities, or your choice of others, but Philosophy is really tough - every new page re-invents some phrase in a way never seen before! At least for me, I need fifteen minutes to get some of the really hard parts. If a professor blasts on, then the entire class becomes a futile mess.

Re:Hold Forth at Length (2)

Moheeheeko (1682914) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902667)

Hah philosophy class. Show up for the first day, midterm and final, 3 days out of the whole class, still pulled an A.

Re:Hold Forth at Length (2)

misexistentialist (1537887) | more than 2 years ago | (#38903703)

So you're the reason why my philosophy classes required a 1 page essay for each class (with annotations added during during class discussion).

Re:Hold Forth at Length (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38902823)

I can understand wanting to learn about the history of philosophy, but beyond that, what are you doing? You aren't philosophizing on your own, are you? You don't need to be taught how to philosophize. No, the only thing you're doing is wasting your time.

show me a "better" alternative (1)

Karljohan (807381) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902631)

I hear this from time to time, especially during classes in pedagogics for higher education, however every alternative that has been proposed is conveying knowledge better but takes more time or covers less topics.

I intentially seek lectures now (1)

peter303 (12292) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902757)

I probably attend a half dozen a month: author talks, museum talks, computer user groups etc. The difference is they are usually one of a kind. Its a lot different have them forced down your through, 12 a week (3x times four classes) for 15 weeks in a row. i find I learn best by a whole variety of media: lectures, tv, internet, books, active problems, etc.

Re:The problem is the lectures, not the laptops. (2)

Fastfwd (44389) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902845)

Seems to me like the solution is very simple not just for lectures but for a lot of business presentations.

Just record it on video and share the link so the person can listen to it when it's convenient to them and when they are most receptive to the material. Comments/questions can be left in a social tool or simply by email. FAQ could be posted x days after the video is released.

I used to be part of a really big international company who would do live presentation at the main site and expect other sites to either join in live via web video or simply watch the video later. A social tools was implemented to discuss the presentation among employees and this included answers to questions that came after the video was posted; out of the real time presentation.

Re:The problem is the lectures, not the laptops. (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902763)

even if you're not paying full attention, you're still soaking up a lot that you don't even realize.

otoh, if your attention is divided, I'm 100% sure that so much is not even received by your ears/brain that you might as well just be on a beach.

the internet addiction is this generation's major problem. maybe you refuse to care or see it, but it WILL mess with you later on. you are being made into a perfect little consumer. hope you enjoy having that done to you...

Re:The problem is the lectures, not the laptops. (1)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 2 years ago | (#38904007)

you are being made into a perfect little consumer. hope you enjoy having that done to you...

Yes, now that our information is no longer given to us exclusively by a small number of powerful news organizations, things are going to get a lot worse.

I have a bridge you might be interested in.

Re:Understandable. (1)

khendron (225184) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902509)

> I should really stop bringing mine.

Good idea. That will help you catch up on your sleep.

Re:Understandable. (3, Interesting)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902727)

I went to college in the mid 80's. there were microcassette recorders and that's about it for 'electronic gizmos' you'd take to class.

just now I was reading fark and saw a posting from someone who is IN CLASS right now and posting/laughing. while in class.

I know you young hipsters think its right and proper, but I do fear for the educational quality (and attentiveness/concentration!) of this current and all following generations. I'd be willing to bet that you are getting half or less of the education you are (over)paying for.

if you are going to chat online, why the hell waste money on school, then? just sit in a coffee house and be done with it.

I do think its rude to hear clicking or typing and *especially* laughing while the prof is talking.

hell, I get annoyed when I'm talking to a college-aged friend of mine and he starts tapping on his while while *I'm* talking TO HIM.

rude rude rude.

"gimme my stimulus and fuck everyone else!"

I do cry for this generation. they have no idea at all what they are doing. none.

Re:Understandable. (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 2 years ago | (#38903657)

I agree. I don't know if I'm a special case or not, but I always got the most out of lectures when I sat there and listened/participated. Taking detailed notes of everything the professor said just made it so that I would have (partial) paper record of what was said, but would have no recollection of what actually went on in the lecture. Having a computer wouldn't have helped anything. I think most people approach lectures in completely the wrong way.

Pay attention to the professor? (1, Insightful)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902177)

Doesn't seem that out of line and there's many US schools with the same rule... they don't ban computers everywhere, but when you're in the classroom the only computer should be used by to the professor,

Re:Pay attention to the professor? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38902239)

My school leaves it up to the professor. All my professors ban them except for the CS professors.

Re:Pay attention to the professor? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38903313)

I had a few CS professors do it as well.

Re:Pay attention to the professor? (2)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902243)

If you can download and watch the materials on your laptop it's far less distracting than if you have to take notes and simultanously listen to the professor.

Re:Pay attention to the professor? (2)

paleo2002 (1079697) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902441)

This is a complaint I occasionally get in my classes - that students have trouble taking notes while listening to my lecture. Or, that they can't write down what's on the board and take notes on what I'm saying. I like to think it hasn't been too long since I was in school last, but maybe I'm older than I realize.

So, how exactly are teachers presenting information to classes at the junior high school level and above these days? I remember teachers talking while I wrote down key points and summaries of what they were saying. I remember copying or summarizing material they put up on a chalk board, transparency, or occasional powerpoint while listening to the teacher. Is there some new pedagogical technique that's been developed in the past 10 years that I should know about?

Re:Pay attention to the professor? (4, Insightful)

masternerdguy (2468142) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902469)

I'm a college freshman so I remember high school very well. Teachers put a slide up with all the info on it and waited for students to copy everything down before advancing. They trained students to copy everything they see instead of evaluating what needs to be copied.

Re:Pay attention to the professor? (5, Insightful)

khendron (225184) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902621)

When I was in first year U I had a calculus prof whose lectures were painfully boring. He'd put a slide on the overhead projector, talk about it while we'd copy it down into our notes. Then he'd put up another slide, repeat, repeat. No time for interaction with the students. Just switch slides, copy, switch slides copy, for 50 excruciating minutes.

One day, the bulb in the project blew. We were all hoping that the prof would cancel the class, but no. He just pushed the overhead to one side, picked up a piece of chalk and started to lecture while writing on the blackboard. The prof transformed from painfully boring into a first rate lecturer. The class was engaging, there was interaction with the students, back and forth discussions. For that one class, the prof was one of the best lecturers I've ever seen.

Next class the overhead was fixed, so it was back to painfully boring.

Re:Pay attention to the professor? (4, Interesting)

VAElynx (2001046) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902695)

Entirely this.
I'm an engineering student and I have noticed that most of the time, the general theorem that applies is that the interestingness of lecture is inversely proportional to the technologic level used.
In other words, someone in the theatre who'll use blackboard/scribbled projection tend to be almost universally amazing, those that use common "fill in gaps" projections tend to be OK , and lecturers using powerpoint tend to be the "gouge out eyes" sort of boring.

Re:Pay attention to the professor? (4, Insightful)

jd2112 (1535857) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902821)

Powerpoint is a tool of the business world based on the premise that if you can't dazzle with brilliance you should baffle with bulls*it. It has little if any value in an educational setting.

Re:Pay attention to the professor? (2)

VAElynx (2001046) | more than 2 years ago | (#38903241)

Not entirely. The slides will tend to be to the point (usually. Some do contain excess imagery *) but the problem is, that using replicates tends to make it easy for the lecturer to just read through what's written on the board. And that's what the PPers tend to do, especially since it isn't easy to add anything
Written on transparencies have both kinds - folks that just boringly plow through , and folks like our current Fracture Mechanics, and Electric Drive Systems professors who'll actually derive stuff in writing, ask questions , and talk about lotsa stuff not written on.

* - This apparently tends to be a problem with modern books, I have read somewhere. Given how easier it has gotten to actually print images into text, especially children/young books tend to image-saturate instead of providing solid information in terms of text. Never mind that simplified diagrams are usually that much easier to understand.

Re:Pay attention to the professor? (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 2 years ago | (#38903869)

My grade school had a smart board [wikipedia.org] . It's one of those rare situations where the technology is genuinely useful. You can interact with images, video, etc. very easily - it turns a "dumb" whiteboard or flat surface into a "smart" surface. Great for writing notes and the like on materials that the students need to see.

Re:Pay attention to the professor? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38903153)

And for the whole semester nobody thought about sabotaging the projector? Derp....

Re:Pay attention to the professor? (1)

RamenJunkie (2509554) | more than 2 years ago | (#38903181)

Yeah, some professors are just dry. There were like 8 people in my third year Physics class and at any given time, half them were asleep, incuding myself. It was. interesting material but the professor combines with the time of day just made it impossible to stay awake.

Re:Pay attention to the professor? (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 2 years ago | (#38903271)

Some people just don't make the realization that if you're throwing a ton of text up on a projector and doing so because you can't write that fast or say it that fast, that's also way too fast for anyone to catch any of it. I'm guessing your professor was afterward lamenting that he didn't get through all he wanted to cover? Also, these days the students actually want a powerpoint. My thesis adviser did an experiment in her class. The students reported that they liked the powerpoint lectures better, but she also noticed that fewer students fell asleep during the chalk talk than the power point. Her sense was that the students at this point were more familiar with powerpoint and liked it better because of that only, not because they actually learned more.

I'm wondering if and when professors will start emulating Salman Khan, of the Khan Academy [youtube.com] . Spend about $200 on some type of tablet input device, hook that up to your computer, and you can have the best of both worlds. You can write stuff out on the projector, you can include pictures if need be. Khan is a brilliant lecturer naturally it seems, but the setup he uses could improve a lot of professors as well. I certainly plan on using one in a few years when I have to start lecturing.

The closest I've seen in person is some lecturers who use powerpoint, but then have a switch to a camera over a sheet of paper that they write on.

Re:Pay attention to the professor? (1)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902721)

I remember that problem from the student's point of view. The professors were quite good at writing on the board while explaining at the same time. But I was not good enough at multitasking to process the information and also write down the important points at the same time.
Eventually, I gave up on taking notes and concentrated on understanding as much as possible during the lecture. For preparing for the tests, this left two options:

1) Learn from lecture notes someone else had prepared. Fortunately, many professors offered cheap copies of their notes at the start of the semester. When those were of decent quality, they were the preferred material because they were guaranteed to match the content of the lecture. A version of this were professors who had written a textbook themselves, were using that as lecture notes and expected students to buy it. While that sometimes amounted to a shameless way of extracting more profit from teaching, at least the textbooks were usually better edited ald laid out than the photocopies.

2) Find a textbook that (mostly) covers the subject matter, learn from that and hope it does not leave too many gaps in what you need to know to pass the tests.

Re:Pay attention to the professor? (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#38903279)

It depends on the professors. The nicer ones create a digital book/note of the lecture together for a class. The reasonable ones announce "note writing competitions" and publish the winner on their site. If none of that happens there are still notes available from older students but those usually can't be relied upon. Having the official notes on a laptop helps understanding the lecture without the need to stop paying attention from time to time when you are writing. It also comes handy when you missed something or the professor didn't explain something detailed enough for you. It also gives you the ability to look stuff up from older lectures or the internet, without having to shuffle through all your notes you are supposed to write at the same time.

High school of course is a different thing but the article is about a university.

Re:Pay attention to the professor? (1)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902603)

Some professors in 1999-2002 handed out their presentation on paper in the "Notes" view on PowerPoint. No need to copy what was seen, just copy what was said that was noteworthy.

Re:Pay attention to the professor? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38902253)

But in Europe I don't see how it fits in the type of education that was defined in the Bologna Treaty. The professor is supposed to be there to guide the students and not to train parrots, I don't see how the students in a tech school can develop independent work without access to computers.

Re:Pay attention to the professor? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38902295)

LOL BOLOGNA TREATY SANWICH

Re:Pay attention to the professor? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38902263)

"when you're in the classroom the only computer should be used by to the professor,"

Hey, if it works for you then it must work for everybody. You should write a book about all the stuff that's best for you so schools can start changing their policies accordingly.

Re:Pay attention to the professor? (2)

PatDev (1344467) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902443)

When I was in college (2 years ago) I brought my laptop to most classes, simply because I can type about 4-5x faster than I can hand-write. The only thing running was emacs, but none of my professors minded.

The thing that makes this work for college is that I *want* to be there. If I really don't want to take a class, I just don't register for it. So if I'm sitting in a classroom, it's because I'm actually interested in what the professor has to say. Such a thing would never work in a setting like high schools and lower precisely because attendance is compelled.

Re:Pay attention to the professor? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38902529)

[...] but when you're in the classroom the only computer should be used by to the professor.

This is a hasty generalization, as there are a handful of times when having a computer in a class can be immensely useful. From my own experience, typing up the lectures, in LaTeX, on my laptop was much, much faster than using pen and paper and allowed me to transcribe far more information than others in my grad. math classes.

Laptops are not the problem (1)

hsmith (818216) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902187)

If students didn't have them or smart phones, they'd be doodling, spacing out, sleeping in class as well. It is just a diversion.

Notebook??? (4, Interesting)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902315)

If students didn't have them or smart phones, they'd be doodling, spacing out, sleeping in class as well. It is just a diversion.

Dude it has been shown that doodling enhances absorption and recall on information, but distracted multi tasking decreases it.

Also since when do we say notebook in a headline and have everyone read it and think laptop not paper notebook.

Re:Notebook??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38902645)

Also since when do we say notebook in a headline and have everyone read it and think laptop not paper notebook.

Oh, I dunno, probably since 2002 or so. Maybe earlier.

Re:Notebook??? (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 2 years ago | (#38903363)

I've started bringing my laptop into meetings. I can take notes, read them, and google background on any concepts I need. A few people look at me strange.

When I've asked the leaders of the meeting if it's alright in advance, they've occasionally said something like "Yes, but don't be checking facebook." Then in the meeting, other people fall asleep. Somehow THAT'S okay, but me checking facebook and remaining conscious would not.

Re:Notebook??? (1)

notmyusualnickname (1221732) | more than 2 years ago | (#38903883)

Also since when do we say notebook in a headline and have everyone read it and think laptop not paper notebook.

The '[...] and Smartphones' wasn't a clue?

Re:Laptops are not the problem (4, Insightful)

hipp5 (1635263) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902329)

But sitting behind a student doodling is not as near distracting as sitting behind a student playing WoW or watching porn (I've seen both).

Re:Laptops are not the problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38902489)

What if the student is drawing porn?

Re:Laptops are not the problem (1)

snowgirl (978879) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902605)

But sitting behind a student doodling is not as near distracting as sitting behind a student playing WoW or watching porn (I've seen both).

I haven't done either of those, but while in a class, I did boot up my macbook pro, which made the wonderful apple startup noise, and disrupted the whole class... everyone stared at me, and I was all, "oops!"

Re:Laptops are not the problem (5, Insightful)

Trubadidudei (1404187) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902341)

A diversion that everyone behind you is forced to watch as well, which can be utterly infuriating.
People checking up on news, entertainement or playing games during class are projecting a wide cone of distraction behind them. It is also impossible for others to ignore it due to how the human brain reacts to peripheral movement and bright light sources.

Re:Laptops are not the problem (1)

KevinIsOwn (618900) | more than 2 years ago | (#38903173)

This! I was always annoyed by people watching videos on Youtube in the rows in front of me during undergrad...

However, I don't think removing electronics from the classroom entirely is a fair solution. I would propose that anyone who wishes to use electronics be seated at the back of the classroom/lecture hall unless they need to sit closer for a legitimate reason (medical issue, etc).

Re:Laptops are not the problem (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#38903375)

True, but if you are genuinely interested in the class you can manage to arrive in time and get in the front row.

Re:Laptops are not the problem (2)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 2 years ago | (#38903405)

Well then gag them too while you're at it. I'm TAing for a large freshman class right now. The number of students who think it's appropriate to carry on extended conversations during lecture, at almost normal volume, is absurd. Computers may cast a cone of distraction behind if they're too bright, but conversations carry in all directions and actually interfere with the message, not just your attention.

Re:Laptops are not the problem (2)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#38904099)

I'm TAing for a large freshman class right now. The number of students who think it's appropriate to carry on extended conversations during lecture, at almost normal volume, is absurd.

Kick them out. Make sure the lecture material is online so they can learn it on their own time, and not waste yours and their classmates.

Banning paper next (1)

Dinghy (2233934) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902193)

Too many people use paper to doodle, or write notes to their friends. It's completely distracting!

Re:Banning paper next (0)

AdrianKemp (1988748) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902301)

Really they should just go straight to the source of the problem and ban brains in lecture halls -- keep the distractions completely out of it.

Profs need to stop being assholes and start realizing that the lecture isn't for their ego it's for the students (eh, well.. that's how it *should* be)

eBooks really cheaper? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38902213)

Your looking at $500 for the tablet (maybe $200 for the cheaper kind) per student. Then you have to pay for the rights of the ebook which you know publishers will push to not allow the student to sell the book used.

Re:eBooks really cheaper? (1)

mosb1000 (710161) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902281)

Many publishers will release a new edition every year to prevent you from selling it used (and and significant cost) anyway.

Must everything in education be an overreaction? (5, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902275)

I always find the "zero tolerance" thing (which seems most prevalent in education) to be annoying. Contrary to the image most people have of every college student texting away on their phones all through class, I took a few classes not long ago and found that the vast majority of students were actually pretty attentive and polite in class. You would have one or two who you would see occasionally texting or playing on their laptops, but they were definitely the exception. Now, the reasonable, sane way to deal with this would be for the professor to pause briefly and say to the idiot texting "Hey dipshit, stop texting in my class, or you're going to be texting 'I failed this class' to your parents very soon." Takes about 3 seconds, everyone gets the message, idiot is suitably embarrassed.

But, of course, in typical "zero tolerance" fashion, rather than manning up and targeting the few abusers with a quick kick in the head, they throw out a blanket proclamation that punishes EVERYONE by threatening them for even having a cellphone or laptop in their bookbag or pocket. So now everyone has to suffer because the faculty and administration are a bunch of pussies who can't wipe their asses if there isn't a regulation somewhere authorizing them to do so.

It's shit like this that leads to teachers calling in the 5-0 [go.com] to slap the cuffs on a 5-year-old.

Re:Must everything in education be an overreaction (3, Interesting)

houghi (78078) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902471)

Now, the reasonable, sane way to deal with this would be for the professor to pause briefly and say [...]

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sqXS9m6aiyk

Unfortunatly nowadays just telling the students will have them answwr "Why, there is no rule that I must do that." and continue to disturb all of the class. Then the parents come and say the same thing. A bit like this [blogspot.com] as people can not acceopt that their kid could be doing anything wrong.

Re:Must everything in education be an overreaction (3, Interesting)

Loughla (2531696) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902843)

Exactly - it's not that the students do not understand that what is happening is wrong, it's that they feel that they are allowed, unless there is a rule against it. When you combine that with parents that assume the perfect little sweety can't be at fault, you have a recipe for disaster. I'm not that old (37), I still remember grade-school. When the teacher sent a note home, my parents would schedule a meeting with that teacher. This meeting was to discuss what **I** did wrong, what **THEY** could do better, and what the **TEACHER** would do after s/he saw progress. Now, in the 6th grade class I teach (I'm home sick today before you jump on me about my time-stamp), when I send a note home. . . . The parents still set a meeting up, but it's to discuss what **I'm** doing wrong, what **I** will do for them, and what part of the class **I** will change to make their child's life better. I'm not saying that my classroom is a locked down police state, or that I never change my teaching tactics to suit an individual or an individual class. What I am saying is that I am disinclined to change my basic practices, based on my 15 years of experience, two advanced degrees and years of experience as a mentor teacher, just to suit the views of a twelve year old whose has parents that won't stand up to him/her. What I am saying is that there is a reason that schools have zero-tolerance policies. The people that make the policies understand that zero-tolerance on anything usually leads to more problems. They have read the research that says that zero-tolerance doesn't work. They've cited these studies. They understand most of the factors (at least in my experience). BUT, they are going through the forced motions of appeasing the knee-jerk reaction of the loudest group around, no matter what that group is or what their agenda is. Now, in the specific case of the school in this article, maybe not - there probably is a better way to go about it. But, in 99% of cases where you see a school set a zero tolerance policy, it is in response to PUBLIC outcry. So, when this zero-tolerance policy bites the PUBLIC on the ass, why do we ask for the school leaders or teachers to resign, instead of asking for the parents to resign?

Re:Must everything in education be an overreaction (1)

sackbut (1922510) | more than 2 years ago | (#38903259)

Good post. Although we assume (perhaps wrongly) that these university age students accept their responsibility as adults. Even if parents may be paying the bill.

PS: to force a paragraph/new line you need to type "less than sign p greater than sign" using symbols which this site won't let me write down without forcing a paragraph!

Re:Must everything in education be an overreaction (1)

zarzu (1581721) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902885)

If someone has a problem with laptops and/or smartphones (which we can assume to be silent and not playing 100db porn) in lectures disturbing their learning, the problem isn't the person using said device. The problem is your attention sucks and you need to figure out a way to get around it yourself. Electronic devices are absolutely non intrusive in lectures and if the prof has a problem because not everyone is looking attentive to the front then tough shit, chances are that person is paying attention even while using the device, wouldn't pay anymore attention without the device, or would not even be there.

Re:Must everything in education be an overreaction (1)

RevEngr (565050) | more than 2 years ago | (#38903167)

I always find the "zero tolerance" thing (which seems most prevalent in education) to be annoying.

Im afraid that there's a lot of sampling bias going here. The only time a decision (whether in education or anything else) shows up in a discussion in major media (or slashdot) is when it is perceived as extreme. So while this may look like an extreme reaction of the sort we're "always" seeing, the fact is that there are hundreds and thousands of other potential stories that we're not seeing, precisely because they are more moderate.

Discussions of this type - exploring the extremes - are very useful for teasing out the important issues to be considered. Are we letting technology actually decrease the effectiveness of education? Is it the technology itself that is problematic, or have we failed to properly understand how we should be using it? Or are we failing to control how we use it, in the same way so many people struggle with how to control their eating habits?

Estonians are smart (0)

gestalt_n_pepper (991155) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902345)

Distraction, not fear, is the mind killer. And remember, these are the guys behind Skype.

Disclaimer: My Mom is from Tallinn.

Re:Estonians are smart (1)

cvtan (752695) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902597)

Distraction and fear, those are our chief weapons, And surprise and ruthless efficiency... Damn! And nice red uniforms.

Estonian Employees (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38903447)

Yeah, but Skype the company was founded by Swedish Niklas Zennström and Danish Janus Friis.

  The developers working for Skype were Estonian.

Good call! But exceptions? (2, Insightful)

Manip (656104) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902373)

In general I agree it is the right decision but they should consider making exceptions for students with special needs. Some students literally cannot write normally for medical reasons and they should be allowed to either type or be provided a recording of the lecture to type up notes later.

In general I think most people who bring a laptop to a lecture will be distracted by it, in particular if there is WiFi available. Unfortunately in the world of instant Facebook updates and e-mail alerts, it is very hard to remain focused even with the best intentions and frankly most students don't have the best intentions.

Re:Good call! But exceptions? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38902839)

Yeah, and there are plenty of whiners in there as well. Girl in my class had some official disability with her wrists, meaning that she couldn't write very fast. She was allowed extra time in exams for it, even though she wrote faster than me - no disability, just a slow writer. And she got to use the disabled parking spots.

Banning is not the panacea! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38902389)

Thats funny! If they did ban it on the campus, people are going to figure out ways to do that. Beware Tallinn.

Bad professors are usually the problem (3, Insightful)

BForrester (946915) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902393)

Maybe if the instructors engaged and involved the class instead of yammering at them for hours on end, students wouldn't need to look elsewhere for engaging material.

Sincerely,

College professor

Understandable indeed (2)

Romwell (873455) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902453)

I am typing this comment during calc recitation. During the quiz.

On the other hand, it feels good to be the recitation TA at times like this.

More on the subject, I only use my laptop during lectures as an e-book reader, and sometimes for note-taking (live-TeXing is quite hard); and I have only seen other students use it in the same manner. But then again, that's grad school; no electronics might be an effective measure in some intro undergrad courses.

Institute of DisTechnology? (2)

eagle1361 (2557464) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902493)

Great Plan...Ban electronics but then go to eBooks for all your textbooks. How does one follow along with the lecture? Let's ban notebook paper as well. We wouldn't want students doodling instead of listening to the professor...

Honesty, I might expect this policy from a liberal arts college, but not an Institute of Technology. If the student doesn't want to pay attention, they can fail the class. Learning is the responsibility of the student not the teacher. (I've been through many of classes through my undergrad and grad level classes.)

As technology becomes more common, schools and teachers need to embrace it, not demonize it.

Probably a good idea (2)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902519)

When I was studying computer science, we had class in a lecture hall twice a week, then lab sessions in a computer lab once a week. The community college I'm teaching at has all of our computer programming classes in computer rooms. I had to explicitly put in my syllabus no eBay, no Facebook, no Twitter, no games, etc. during class, or it would be grounds for removal. Even if the person understands the material, they might still act as a distraction to the people sitting next to them.

What about banning lectures where it's just text b (4, Insightful)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902569)

What about banning lectures where it's just reading from the text book and maybe a set power point slides.

I use my tablet in meetings (2)

vawwyakr (1992390) | more than 2 years ago | (#38902589)

Which can end up being similar to lectures at times. I use the notes app to be able to take notes, attach pictures and videos to the notes etc. It's like a super-notebook and helps me keep track of things better. I think out right banning is short sighted and if people are not taking their classes seriously and failing then that is sort of their fault no? This isn't elementary school we're talking about here.

Should be professor's choice (2)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | more than 2 years ago | (#38903003)

I'd say that almost every class I've had after returning to school, most people I see are just screwing around on their laptops and maybe looking at lecture notes part of the time. Only in one class is the professor using our laptops as a teaching aid; having us set up our website. This naturally evolved during the semester and wasn't a forethought.

hey thats my school (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38903291)

anyway its only one institute and a lousy one at that, as a electronics engieneering mayor i dont even have any lectures with that institute

Don't let a few bad students ruin it for everybody (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38903329)

I use my laptop in almost every class I have. The only exceptions so far being Foreign Language, Math, and the one required art class I had to take..
I generally have the wireless turned off on it, and the only things I have running are my note taking program, and any
pdfs or powerpoint slides for that class.

In two and a half years, I have only been in three classes where the Professor did not allow people to use laptops in their class.
Once I found that out, I went and dropped the class, and twice was able to take the same class from a different Professor the same semester, and the other time I was able to take a different class that fulfilled the same credit requirement.

I have really bad handwriting, always have, so when I have to write fast, I generally have a hard time reading it later on, and I can type way faster than I write.

To be expected (1)

Corson (746347) | more than 2 years ago | (#38903449)

The use of electronic devices in class is acceptable as long as it is restricted to work in class But students abuse it: they take phone calls, text away, and browse the social Web sites. If a device ban is the only available solution to prevent abuse then so be it.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...