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How Students Are 'Evolving' With Technology

CmdrTaco posted about 7 years ago | from the growing-tinfoil-hats dept.

Education 249

Scott Jaschik writes "A new study explores how "digital natives" (today's college students) have changing technology habits — and how those habits have infiltrated the classroom. What does that mean for professors and their teaching methods?"

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Note taking (5, Interesting)

Arrow_Raider (1157283) | about 7 years ago | (#20636305)

Maybe it's just me, but I've tried taking notes on my laptop before and I just didn't retain the information as well as when I physically write notes with paper and pencil.

Re:Note taking (1)

GuyinVA (707456) | about 7 years ago | (#20636363)

Ditto. If I actually write down the notes, I seem to remember it easier.

Re:Note taking (4, Insightful)

jimstapleton (999106) | about 7 years ago | (#20636403)

If I wrote down notes, I tended to miss parts of the lecture, usually important stuff.

I didn't have that problem with the notebook.

Re:Note taking (2, Interesting)

Volante3192 (953645) | about 7 years ago | (#20636993)

Whenever I had a class where I'd worry I'd miss something important while taking notes, I'd bring along my microcassette recorder. Then I could go over my notes re-listening to the lecture and fill in gaps (and also make more effort to make the chicken scratches legible.)

Course, some profs don't like cassette recorders, but I'd wager if they had to take either those or laptops, they'd go for recorders.

Re:Note taking (4, Informative)

Stooshie (993666) | about 7 years ago | (#20637333)

... some profs don't like cassette recorders ...

I think that might have been the point of the original post. The profs are just going to have to adapt.

Re:Note taking (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20636491)

Some people can type plain English much faster than they can write. Therefore, in most humanities courses it pays off to use a laptop for notetaking (particularly in Ivy League-type schools for obvious reasons).

Re:Note taking (2, Insightful)

Otter (3800) | about 7 years ago | (#20636767)

It's no doubt due to my Ivy League education, but I have no idea why that's obvious. Am I supposed to be a particularly good typist (false) or have particularly poor handwriting (true)?

Re:Note taking (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20637337)

I would have thought it's more because humanities lectures are more likely to just be the lecturer talking about something as opposed to say an engineering type lecture where there are more likely to be diagrams and the like.

Re:Note taking (3, Insightful)

jhutch2000 (801707) | about 7 years ago | (#20636439)

The biggest problem I saw was that the tap-tap of typing is extremely annoying, especially in smaller class sizes (granted in a huge lecture hall, the general noise of the room drowned it out).

Re:Note taking (2, Informative)

webax (1034218) | about 7 years ago | (#20636481)

I finished school a couple years ago now, at that time the kid who brought a laptop to every class was called "laptop", and it wasn't the most endearing nickname.

My girlfriend is still in school now though, and the majority of her pre-med program class bring their laptops to class. The most interesting thing is that professors seem to be required to provide their lecture notes as a type of powerpoint presentation. Students open the powerpoint and follow along with the teacher typing notes into the file itself, which can they later review on the computer for tests and exams.

The point can be made that this doesn't properly prepare you for tests that are written but even those are changing. The MCAT was changed to an all electronic format in which you are required to answer all multiple choice and even essay questions on a computer.

I wonder how long before English exams are being done entirely online?

The only subject I have trouble seeing easily transferable to an electronic form without some form of tablet would be math and engineering subjects which require extensive equations. There is no good standard equation editor that can create and manipulate formulas nearly as fast as can be done by hand afaik. (Although LaTeX equations do look a whole lot better than by hand once you get all the symbols in the right place.)

Yeah (4, Interesting)

everphilski (877346) | about 7 years ago | (#20636661)

The only subject I have trouble seeing easily transferable to an electronic form without some form of tablet would be math and engineering subjects which require extensive equations. There is no good standard equation editor that can create and manipulate formulas nearly as fast as can be done by hand afaik. (Although LaTeX equations do look a whole lot better than by hand once you get all the symbols in the right place.)

As an engineer I stuck to desktop computers, took notes on paper, until this year. I have a Ph.D., and my comittee consists of a colleague at work, my advisor at school, and me doing work at both work and school and home. So I broke down and I use it for research, but I still take paper notes. You just can't effectively do a free body diagram on a notebook...

Re:Note taking (1)

shotgunsaint (968677) | about 7 years ago | (#20637573)

I don't know how many different OS's it is available on, but I personally use Longhand for OSX. It's quite a nice text editor style calculator, but I haven't pushed its scientific capabilities so much. I'm sure that it has them, though.

Re:Note taking (1)

boobavon (857902) | about 7 years ago | (#20636483)

Not a single class this semester even allows me to have a laptop open during class. I retain things better writing as well, I've noticed. But the classes are just so boring!

Re:Note taking (1)

masdog (794316) | about 7 years ago | (#20636501)

I found that I did better in classes where I used my laptop to take notes. I remembered more, had an easier time sharing, and didn't have to try deciphering my own writing.

But there were only a few classes where I actually did that...most professors thought I was taking notes when I was really playing the Sims or surfing the net.

Re:Note taking (1, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | about 7 years ago | (#20636751)

Perhaps, but why should other students in your classes suffer? Laptops in the classroom are just obnoxious if the people with them are doing anything more than keeping up with powerpoint slides, and even that isn't the most useful as the cost of a proper projector has come down in price quite a bit over the last number of years.

It does seem to me that using a computer really isn't a replacement for learning to write legibly. I can guarantee you that there isn't going to be an innovation in the near future which will make handwriting completely obsolete in most cases. With the exception of people with dyslexia or some other cognitive impairment, the ability to write legibly is something which comes with understanding the material.

I've spent quite a bit of time working with students that have various impairments running from aspergers to dyslexia to severe anxiety, and it really does a lot of damage to people that might have a fair shot at achieving things in class if they can't write in a legible way. Laptops, or any computer for that matter, cannot replace the work that writing things out requires. Sure they can be very helpful in the learning process, but they still cannot be as efficient as doing things in a handwritten form.

Re:Note taking (0)

speaker of the truth (1112181) | about 7 years ago | (#20636939)

Perhaps, but why should other students in your classes suffer? Laptops in the classroom are just obnoxious
In your opinion. I've never found laptops to intrude on my learning.

It does seem to me that using a computer really isn't a replacement for learning to write legibly. I can guarantee you that there isn't going to be an innovation in the near future which will make handwriting completely obsolete in most cases.
You're right, it isn't going to come, it has come. I find the times when I have to write by hand are growing less every day as I grow older. As such my writing is getting worse as I get older. I am not sadenned at losing this ability as I've always been able to type faster. I'm happy to be having less times when I must write by hand.

Re:Note taking (1)

Stooshie (993666) | about 7 years ago | (#20637447)

I agree with you that there is nothing wrong with laptops in the classroom, but I wouldn't say they have replaced handwriting.

I have yet to find an application that allows me to plan (say) a database structure as quickly or as easily as a paper and pencil or a whiteboard (especially if there is more than one person invoved in the planning stage).

Yes, I know if you plan it on the PC first you can convert it to SQL immediately etc... However, I always "step away from the computer" when planning any part of an application as the danger is I just start coding and before I know it I have written the structure and it's a lot more work to undo it.

Re:Note taking (1)

JSchoeck (969798) | about 7 years ago | (#20637407)

Why not?

If you propose a thesis you better bring forth some supporting arguments. It's just as easy to say "Laptops are more efficient in the learning progress than doing things in a handwritten form."
I could even list a few reasons why this could be possible - even though I'm not even claiming that it's true!

Re:Note taking (5, Interesting)

Dr. Eggman (932300) | about 7 years ago | (#20636537)

I use a Tablet PC/Notebook hybrid =D

All benefits of handwritten note plus ultimate storeage, organization, and the ability to copy/paste large swaths of repeated information and to resize/reshape/duplicate graphs and tables. Built-in microphone is starting to get use, too. Its nice to be able to hear a lecture over again encase I missed important info during note taking.

Re:Note taking (1)

kannibal_klown (531544) | about 7 years ago | (#20636589)

Agreed. I tried doing the whole laptop thing towards the end of college using different methods, and in the end my hand-written notes were always better and stuck with me. Plus the teacher would get annoyed and I'd be too tempted to browse the Net or do some coursework for another class during an easy lecture.

The only thing I liked about it was a few teachers asked that we follow with a printout of PowerPoint slides. In those cases I'd view them on my laptop because printing out 50 page presentations 3 nights a week was such a pain.

Re:Note taking (1)

garcia (6573) | about 7 years ago | (#20636673)

Maybe it's just me, but I've tried taking notes on my laptop before and I just didn't retain the information as well as when I physically write notes with paper and pencil.

Starting in 7th grade up through current time, I would take notes in pencil and then transcript those notes to an electronic medium for both permanent archival (I still have the notes from 7th grade although WP 5.1 files are difficult to open these days ;)) and reinforcement of the notes. I found it was much easier to look back through my notes (and search) when they were in an electronic format.

Now that I'm taking a class online as part of my non-degree seeking continuing education, I find that it's not as effectual for me as sitting in a lecture -- I'd probably be better off with podcasts of the lecture along with transcribing my own notes. Everyone learns in a different way.

Re:Note taking (1)

smallferret (946526) | about 7 years ago | (#20636821)

When I was in school, there were only a few classes where electronic note-taking was feasible. I spent too much time drawing diagrams, doing equations, and scribbling notes in the margins for a laptop to be worth it. There was one class where I took notes with an external keyboard on my PalmPilot, and that worked well simply because it was a pure lecture class really without diagrams.

Re:Note taking (1)

Notquitecajun (1073646) | about 7 years ago | (#20636873)

My issue when I was in class - and now in the business world - is that the major drawback of computers is the screens. Having a backlit screen - essentially staring at a light bulb for hours at a time - can't be good. I much prefer reading from paper...it seems to be less eye strain.

Re:Note taking (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20636989)

Same here... at least until I discovered mind mapping tools, like freemind.
Now that's pretty close to my preference to simple pencil and paper....
Major advantage is that I can reorganize my thoughts around a subject, add to it later as necessary and it's always organized in a way that makes sense to me. Plus it's easy to export the info to different formats without a whole lot of work.

Re:Note taking (1)

nine-times (778537) | about 7 years ago | (#20637089)

I'm not a student anymore, but I'm a bit of a digital-age kid, so I'll still offer my thoughts. For me, it has always been a bit of a trade-off. If I type, I can't draw little pictures and arrows all over the place. But if I use a notebook, I can't read my own writing. I grew up typing instead of writing, and my handwriting is horrible if I'm scribbling quick notes.

My solution has been to write notes in a notebook, and then as soon as I get a chance, I review my notes in front of a computer, typing them up. If I review them quickly enough, I have an easier time reading my own writing.

This has a few advantages. First, it gives me the quickness of jotting things down in a very free-form manner while I'm in the meeting, but also the clean final product of typewritten notes. Best of both worlds. Second, I'm effectively writing things twice, and the repetition helps me remember. Finally, when I'm typing my notes up, it gives me a chance to really review my notes, reorganize the ideas, look for connections between things, etc.

It took me years to admit to myself that the extra work of taking notes and copying them was worth it, but it is.

Re:Note taking (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | about 7 years ago | (#20637111)

Maybe it's just me, but I've tried taking notes on my laptop before and I just didn't retain the information as well as when I physically write notes with paper and pencil.
All depends on the person. I type 120wpm so note-taking is typically easier when I type. Of course, drawing diagrams is a bitch. I typically find that I retain less if I'm taking notes, be it typing or longhand. It's too distracting when i do that sort of thing, prevents me from seriously paying attention to what the instructor is saying. But in general, I suck at lecture instruction, puts me right to sleep. I suck at math, suck suck suck. I've always been a C student there, even when it's "easy" math. Had to take business calc for my degree. The instructor was a worthless meatbag and I would have failed if I paid attention in class. I showed up so as not to get marked absent but did all my studying with a comp sci friend who knew his shit. He walked me through the problems and I was able to learn in a conversational fashion. For me, that is key. Lecture puts me to sleep. If it's an active dialog, my brain is fully engaged and there's no way my mind can wander. I got an A in that class. An A! For me, especially in a math topic, that's a holy shit moment. And because there's no actual need for calculus in a business setting, I've forgotten everything about it. Stupid weed-out course, stupid education system.

Re:Note taking (1)

Creepy Crawler (680178) | about 7 years ago | (#20637651)

And in my opinion, anyone who claims to be a university graduate should be required to take and understand calculus.

Calculus is a 400 year old math discipline, and regarded as a requirement for a classical education (something in which we have forgotten). One should also take philosophy and review the works of Plato, Sophocles, Aristotle, Euclid, and other Greek people.

Yet, now we barely focus on what topic of study we choose, and not much else. I'm sure the American joke has been told: What are you called if you only speak 1 language? American.

Re:Note taking (1)

toppavak (943659) | about 7 years ago | (#20637367)

In my experience, taking notes for humanities on a laptop is significantly easier (I type much faster than I can write) and allows me to focus better than if I were hastily scribbling as much as possible since its easier to type without looking at your computer than it is to write without looking at your paper. For science/math/engineering courses you're absolutely right. I've never tried taking notes with a tablet as I dont own one, but you lose the advantage of being able to type quickly and efficiently even if you gain the ability to sketch diagrams. And text only notes for any of those courses would be completely useless.

Facebook: the biggest benefit of all (-1, Offtopic)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | about 7 years ago | (#20636323)

Nowhere else can you get true amateur pr0n with college-age girls. Anything else out there is staged and uninteresting because of it.

Gimme candid shots of drunk 18 year old girls flashing their breasts at each other and engaging in lipstick lesbianism!

Technology is a wonderful thing.

"Evolving?" (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20636327)

Let's hope the folks in Kansas don't hear about this.

Back in the day... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20636335)

"What does that mean for professors and their teaching methods?"

Nothing. We're all old-school around here when it comes to teaching.

Re:Back in the day... (1)

speaker of the truth (1112181) | about 7 years ago | (#20636723)

I feel sorry for your children who have to deal with your inferior methods. For example I write my notes before attending my lecture by reading the lecture notes provided. I can follow along more easily and only have to add what is communicated verbally into my notes.

Re:Back in the day... (1)

Uthic (931553) | about 7 years ago | (#20636919)

Funny how the "inferior" way has produced competent students for a long time.

Re:Back in the day... (1)

speaker of the truth (1112181) | about 7 years ago | (#20636987)

Inferior does not imply bad, simply not as good. People use to ride around on perfectly healthy and usable horses for a long, long time. I'd still call them inferior to travelling by an automobile though.

Change along with technology required to be heard (1)

saveonweb (939227) | about 7 years ago | (#20636361)

I have had professors who acted on change in technology to keep-up with students and there were some who absolutely ignored it. The impact was, professors who changed themselves to accept the new technologies and incorporated them into their teaching method were able to convey their message across and were better accepted by the students. On the other hand those who did not do anything to change themselves became less popular.

Re:Change along with technology required to be hea (4, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | about 7 years ago | (#20636459)

That's not always true. I've seen a lot of professors who were able to capture the students' attention, and actually have them learn the material quite well, with only a blackboard and a piece of chalk. I've also seen a lot of professors with all this tricked out technology and completely fail at teaching, either by not getting the students interested, or completing failing at getting the point of the lecture across. So, while technology can help, especially if the professor understands it, I would say that the majority of professors who are bad, can't be helped by just throwing more technology at the problem. And professors who are already good, don't need high tech gadgets to teach.

Re:Change along with technology required to be hea (1)

everphilski (877346) | about 7 years ago | (#20636699)

Chalk and blackboard? Pfft. My MAE623 professor uses **transparencies** :P (despite the fact that each room is equipped with an LCD projector, and there are several rooms equipped with digital blackboards ... he is old school and uses the overhead projector)

Re:Change along with technology required to be hea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20636701)

I prefer a lecture with chalk over a ramble with PowerPoint slides any day. Unfortunately, teaching with PowerPoint seems to be hip these days - which might not be so bad in itself, but it is when they don't know how to use it correctly. Quickly rushing over a few slides with equations written all over it does not help. Watching someone slowly write out each step on a chalkboard, and explain why they did it along the way, does wonders for your understanding.

Re:Change along with technology required to be hea (1)

speaker of the truth (1112181) | about 7 years ago | (#20636775)

That's not always true. I've seen a lot of professors who were able to capture the students' attention, and actually have them learn the material quite well, with only a blackboard and a piece of chalk.
I find it largely depends on the course. I find maths must be written by hand as the layout of the formula and notes on the page can be just as important as the information itself and trying to replicate this on a standard computer is simply too time consuming. But anything else I find tedious to do by hand.

I've also seen a lot of professors with all this tricked out technology and completely fail at teaching, either by not getting the students interested, or completing failing at getting the point of the lecture across. So, while technology can help, especially if the professor understands it, I would say that the majority of professors who are bad, can't be helped by just throwing more technology at the problem. And professors who are already good, don't need high tech gadgets to teach.
You're right, no amount of technology can make a bad teacher good, but it can make a good teacher better. Never think that someone is so good at something that they don't need to improve. Otherwise that person will find they do in fact become worse as those around them improve and eventually exceed them.

Re:Change along with technology required to be hea (1)

Lord_Frederick (642312) | about 7 years ago | (#20636869)

The best use of technology I've been a part of was a college algebra teacher using the camera and projector to display problems as she worked them on her notepad. She used different colored markers and everything was faster because she wasn't spending time writing three-inch numbers on a whiteboard or constantly erasing.

Now look at my calculus instructor that tries to use a combination of whiteboard, computer's TI-83 emulator and online resources. It all feels disjointed and awkward, especially when he's constantly walking back and forth to turn the room light on and off.

One uses the technology that assists in teaching, the other seems like he's using technology for technology's sake.

Re:Change along with technology required to be hea (4, Insightful)

ceoyoyo (59147) | about 7 years ago | (#20637757)

I've found that if a lecturer isn't very good he's going to get worse if you give him Powerpoint.

Re:Change along with technology required to be hea (1)

aadvancedGIR (959466) | about 7 years ago | (#20636731)

I had a teacher who put a box outside the classroom with a sign that basically said "Put tamagoshi or gameboy here during the class, any tamagoshi or gameboy found inside the classroom will be hammered", of course, I was 7 then and no one had cellphone or PDA at that time.

...Evolving? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20636371)

Man, that No Child Left Behind thing must be knocking off more students than I thought!

"..but, but, I can get better! I can learn!"

"Sorry, kid, but no child gets left behind. [Click]"

AntiSocial society (5, Interesting)

packetmon (977047) | about 7 years ago | (#20636399)

You know, I love technology and all that it has done and is continuing to do, but I'm also starting to feel that technology is making a large portion of society very antisocial. When I was younger I used to enjoy going to the library, playing in the park etc., nowadays I see a huge portion of younger people skipping the libraries in favor of wikipedia or finding it online. Same goes for interaction, say dating... Why should someone head to a bar, coffeeshop, the laundrymat to meet someone when they could find it online. Alot of interaction has gone down the tubes and while it may be nice to think of an "e-classroom" of the future, I'd be pretty pissed if I couldn't clown around in person as opposed to faking smiles behind a screen. Screw that give me some dirty smelly kids, jokes, teachers throwing chalk at me versus a "digital classroom"

Re:AntiSocial society (1)

crgrace (220738) | about 7 years ago | (#20636429)

I'm with you Packetmon. I got through a demanding program in Electrical Engineering in the 90s without owning a computer. I used the UNIX terminals in the engineering building for homework, and used the Mac lab to write my papers. Saved me a lot of money, and got me out of the dorm. Nowadays everyone has a personal laptop. I wonder if the students work alone more.

Carl

Re:AntiSocial society (1)

icebrain (944107) | about 7 years ago | (#20637253)

I don't think the laptops cause any more isolation than there was before. A typical Georgia Tech computer lab is usually full of people zoned out on their own work (often with headphones on) or in small clusters of people. No real interation there, outside of the group work for projects and such.

The laptops just make it easier to get to computing resources. Instead of all of us having to cram into a lab, fight over computers, and try to get seating next to each other, we could go anywhere (dorm, other building, off campus, etc.), and plug in the laptops. They also let you get more stuff done between classes because you don't have to waste time walking to/from your dorm or the library. And then you have the AE department, which kicks undergrads off the lab computers at 11pm and locks them out of the room until 7am the next day, apparently because they just aren't important.

I know having the laptop was the single best investment I made in school. Yes, it's a distraction, but it's more than made up for when you can just whip it out and work on stuff for thirty mintues at a time, instead of having to wait till you go home for the day.

Re:AntiSocial society (4, Interesting)

MBCook (132727) | about 7 years ago | (#20636535)

I agree, which is something I find rather amusing considering the huge number of people using "social" networking sites, making "friends" on MySpace, etc.

There is a lot to be said about a digital classroom at a certain point. It can be great in many college classes. I am highly against the "shove computers into higg/middle/elementary schools" movement. I've been in those schools, I know just how poorly they get used. Instead of something good the kids get "How to use Word" (not how to use a word processor). "How to type". "How to make a PowerPoint presentation". Some bits of this are useful (especially typing) but these are being taught not as means to an end, but the end its self.

Re:AntiSocial society (2, Insightful)

pthor1231 (885423) | about 7 years ago | (#20636567)

What were you doing being social in the library? I thought the whole point of them was to actually get away from distractions and be able to concentrate? In all seriousness though, just because someone isn't being social the exact same way you were doesn't necessarily make them anti social people. I honestly would never go to a laundromat to meet someone, partially because I never had the need to, but also because I just don't think thats a great way to meet someone I would have a lot in common with. So what if someone wants to have a get together of friends and play some games rather than going and tossing the disc in the park. Of course, you always have the people who take it to an extreme on either end. Don't let them be the base of your judgments.

Re:AntiSocial society (4, Interesting)

The One and Only (691315) | about 7 years ago | (#20636675)

On the same token, I'm glad for all this technology because I'm no longer forced to interact with other people unless I particularly want to. (And, incidentally, isn't it a little creepy, trying to meet people at the landromat?)

Re:AntiSocial society (5, Insightful)

kebes (861706) | about 7 years ago | (#20636797)

Actually I see some technological trends in the opposite direction. Sites like Facebook enable people to be connected to each other more quickly and pervasively than ever before. Organizing events is easier. Photos from parties get posted and commented on within hours of the party ending! Keeping in touch with old friends is now so much easier than it used to be. I actually think that this increases socialization for many people. In particular, those on the "more awkward" end of the normal distribution (e.g. "geeks" and "nerds") now have an easier time of becoming socially connected (both online and offline). Sometimes it can actually be a bad thing, of course--people are spending time socializing online (and planning more offline social activities), which can disrupt other pursuits (e.g. learning!).

With regard to the library... I've never thought of the library as a social-hub. In general, for every hour that is saved by using a more efficient online resource, instead of walking to the library, that's an hour that can be spent doing something else (e.g. learning something new or hanging out with friends).

So, I'm not at all convinced that this technology is making people anti-social. For every anti-social anecdote I've seen, I've also seen instances where the technology is drawing people closer together, and helping forge friendships. Humans are social animals. Technology can't change that--if anything, it reinforces it.

Re:AntiSocial society (2, Insightful)

speaker of the truth (1112181) | about 7 years ago | (#20636861)

By your own examples the technology isn't causing people to become antisocial. Its simply changing where the socialization happens. Those that are uncomfortable with change will of course have a wide range of reactions including mild discomfort and proclaiming all new technology to be the work of the devil.

Sure... digital is cool but... (4, Interesting)

TheEdge757 (1157503) | about 7 years ago | (#20636423)

I consider myself an early adopter and a person who's generally always interested in finding a competetive advantage, but one thing is for sure: when it comes to studying, I like to have something tactile in my hands. It's almost as though interacting with a paper medium is easier to deal with then a digital medium, and through that interaction I tend to learn more. It's why I've printed out all the Powerepoint slides to class and write on the slides in longhand rather then add notes on the actual slides themselves. I'm not sure if that's something that will eventuially change as people start becoming more exposed to computers at an early age, but I do believe that in my generation (college) people still generally prefer to have a non-digital medium for actual learning. I've rarely run into anyone who would rather read a digital textbook then have some sort of physical document/book in their hands.

Re:Sure... digital is cool but... (2, Informative)

Aladrin (926209) | about 7 years ago | (#20636657)

There are plenty of studies that have been done to show that

A) Certain people learn better in certain ways. http://www.vark-learn.com/english/index.asp [vark-learn.com]

B) The atmosphere you learn something in is the atmosphere you'll recall it best in. This means that if you study in a suit and reading a physical book, that's the way you'll remember it easiest. If you study in jeans and a shirt, and using a computer, that's the way you'll remember it easiest.

A means that learning should either be tailored to the individual student, or use all methods of learning to reinforce the material.

B means that if you are working on something that you'll use wearing a suit and on a PC, that's the atmosphere you should learn it in.

BTW, I'm one of those that would rather a digital book, for pleasure reading or learning, either one. Just because you don't hear them say so, don't just assume they like physical books.

Re:Sure... digital is cool but... (1)

TheEdge757 (1157503) | about 7 years ago | (#20636883)

"There are plenty of studies that have been done to show that...." All valid points. I happen to be an auditory learner, so I guess none of this matters to me anyway :) I don't disagree with anything that you say, though I will clarify. My personal opinion is that most people would rather read a book in their hands then off a screen. Now, the people who read this post might come from a subset of the population who have a higher likelyhood of agreeing with you, but go talk to most people who aren't in the science fields and I think you'll find the opposite.

Re:Sure... digital is cool but... (1)

Aladrin (926209) | about 7 years ago | (#20637027)

Do people that have never tried, or even had a chance to try, really count? We are talking about implementing this in education. If the child grows up with the chance/choice, and still prefers books, that's one thing. But if they've never had the chance, that's another.

If you ask someone who's never had steak (but has had chicken) if they prefer chicken or steak, they have to answer 'chicken'. That doesn't mean they actually like it better, just that they have no information.

Re:Sure... digital is cool but... (2, Insightful)

jollyreaper (513215) | about 7 years ago | (#20637219)

but I do believe that in my generation (college) people still generally prefer to have a non-digital medium for actual learning. I've rarely run into anyone who would rather read a digital textbook then have some sort of physical document/book in their hands.
It all boils down to what you're used to and what makes you feel comfortable. I love reading books on a palm device. I can curl up in bed and it's every bit as nice as having a physical book. I've been doing some computer certs and the books for the subject weigh about 50lbs in total and would never fit in my laptop bag but the books DO come with CD's, complete with pdf's! I can bring the whole kit and kaboodle to class and have it running on my laptop sitting right beside my workstation. Bright, legible screen, full text search functionality, I love it. I can also have ten different books open for cross-referencing. If I were using paper books like the rest of the class, I'd barely have enough room to keep one open.

It's one of those things that boils down to the question of "what works for you?" The problem with modern education is that they often say "to hell with the individual; what's the most effective way of cranking the students through?" Lecture-style learning in large classes, pointless multiple choice exams, etc. If they decide that laptops and ebooks are more efficient, that's what they'll mandate. If they decide it has to be paper books, they'll mandate that instead. But it seems like there's no flexibility for any give and take, it's just whatever they decide to railroad through and fuck you if you see things differently.

The real advantage IMO (5, Insightful)

The Living Fractal (162153) | about 7 years ago | (#20636531)

See, technology does has its advantages. Let's talk learning here. To me, when I was in school, there were two types of lectures, two types of classes, two types of professors/teachers. I could usually tell right away which type a particular class would be, and that would set the stage for me and eventually my final grade.

The two types:
- Rote memorization
- Conceptual learning

Back before google was a verb I couldn't just 'google' my question and get the answer within seconds. It was advantageous to use some of my (maybe a lot of it) on simple rote memorization.

But now, with so much information literally at my fingertips, I see no reason to fill as much of my memory up with the rote knowledge and facts. I feel that I am better served by learning the art of skepticism, philosophy, conceptualization, and the general techniques used to analyze, logically, the goings-on in my daily life.

I think that in today's schools, if they choose to embrace technology in this way, you will see that in this sense this is advantageous over not having the technology at all.

Re:The real advantage IMO (1)

speaker of the truth (1112181) | about 7 years ago | (#20637063)

These are very good points. In programming courses these days the teachers are saying that learning the language isn't as important as learning the concept, but then they teach it in a very language-oriented manner and often are unable to get the concept across clearly. So I think more and more people are realizing how important conceptual learning is, but they don't know how to teach beyond rote memorization.

Re:The real advantage IMO (1)

Anne Honime (828246) | about 7 years ago | (#20637101)

But now, with so much information literally at my fingertips, I see no reason to fill as much of my memory up with the rote knowledge and facts. I feel that I am better served by learning the art of skepticism, philosophy, conceptualization, and the general techniques used to analyze, logically, the goings-on in my daily life.

It would be marvelous given an inifinte amount of free time on your hands, but face it : most parts of human knowledge are now so complex that even the basics can take years to just grasp. You can't possibly discover again what's already been done all the way up, so you've got at least to learn about where the current knowledge has arrived. And this can only be done via rote learning.

I too would be delighted to be able to simply crash into any science or art by just looking for answers, but I've exeperienced that you must learn how to "read the map" before being able to make a move. And learning that map is very time consumming, boring, and solely based on memorization.

Re:The real advantage IMO (1)

The Living Fractal (162153) | about 7 years ago | (#20637265)

This is true. Hence the italicized "as much" in my quote.

You have defined the why of the "as much". I was too lazy, or maybe figured someone else would handle that ;p

Re:The real advantage IMO (1)

Anne Honime (828246) | about 7 years ago | (#20637595)

Just something else I should have written in my answer. You're posing as the perfect student, which is true I hope ;-)
But as a lecturer, I know that statistically, students want badly rote memorization. Because they know there's going to be a test at the end of the semester, and all of a sudden, when the time comes, they realize that being tested on their critical abilities is more dangerous than memory. Memory is a muscle, anybody can train to have an adequate one. But critical thinking is MUCH more difficult to achieve, and they realize they'd rather let me do the job first hand. That's how I'm always feeling in the process of potty training talking parrots most of the time (and even, I realize ALEX [wikipedia.org] certainly had more gusto for thinking than the majority of my students).

Re:The real advantage IMO (1)

The Living Fractal (162153) | about 7 years ago | (#20637743)

Well, inasmuch that critical thinking is a process, so must the steps used to perform that process be memorized. In other words, you need both types (from what I said in my original post) of learning. What I think technology has done is allow us more leeway to properly balance the two types.

Now I'm just an armchair philosopher. There are probably quite a few more 'types' of learning and schooling. To break it all down into those two is probably not fair or adequate. As usual, my agenda was only to make a point. Sometimes that's at the cost of the greater picture, sometimes it helps others see a part of that picture they maybe hadn't seen.

Here on Slashdot the best comments are both insightful and informative (ok, and funny). Unfortunately, mine are usually less of the latter than the former, and often not much of the former anyway. When I do get modded up it is largely due to the fact that I merely pointed out what others were already thinking, saving them the time of typing it themselves. But this begs the question: If enough other people were thinking the same thing and modded the comment insightful, then how insightful could it really have been?

I know I am way, way off topic here. Maybe I'll get modded -1 OT. That would be a nice change of pace :)

Re:The real advantage IMO (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | about 7 years ago | (#20637269)

Back before google was a verb I couldn't just 'google' my question and get the answer within seconds. It was advantageous to use some of my (maybe a lot of it) on simple rote memorization.

But now, with so much information literally at my fingertips, I see no reason to fill as much of my memory up with the rote knowledge and facts. I feel that I am better served by learning the art of skepticism, philosophy, conceptualization, and the general techniques used to analyze, logically, the goings-on in my daily life.

I think that in today's schools, if they choose to embrace technology in this way, you will see that in this sense this is advantageous over not having the technology at all.
I completely agree with you. But there's so much inertia built up behind the old way of doing things... It's just easier to drill people on facts. Here, memorize a hundred facts. There, now I can test you on them. You got 90%, I look good. How do you quantify "skepticism, philosophy, conceptualization, and the general techniques used to analyze, logically, the goings-on in my daily life"? It would require an intensive one-on-one test with the instructor. It's not something that you could fit on a scantron. It's not happening. :(

"The mind should be a factory, not a warehouse." (1)

B1ackDragon (543470) | about 7 years ago | (#20637373)

Thought I'd share a quote from one of my top five professors... see subject.

Re:"The mind should be a factory, not a warehouse. (1)

The Living Fractal (162153) | about 7 years ago | (#20637597)

That is an excellent way to put it. I may borrow that from time to time.

Re:The real advantage IMO (1)

lokiz (796853) | about 7 years ago | (#20637489)

I think you have hit "the nail on the head" here. To this day I actually remember things from the classes where we learned concepts and how to do things instead of "memorize this and regurgitate for the exam". I had a professor in college who was fantastic. He taught the hardest comp sci classes. And all his exams were open book, open notes. Students still would sweat at the thought of his exams, but that was because of the subject matter (compilers anyone?). Bottom line to pass his test you had to know how to do the stuff. Sure you had all the answers at your fingers with books and notes. But if you didn't know where to look, and what you were doing you'd never pass. This was by far the best preparation for the real world I had. Ability to look up anything, but if you don't have some clue of what your doing you'll never finish as fast as you need to.

Similar to... (3, Interesting)

kebes (861706) | about 7 years ago | (#20636581)

Note that this story is somewhat similar to a previous Slashdot item [slashdot.org] on "When 'Digital Natives' Go to the Library [insidehighered.com] " (complete with the 'Digital Native' buzz-word that I have not seen used on other sites).

This quote included in TFA is, I think, the best way to look at integrating new technologies with teaching:

Good teachers are good with or without IT and students learn a great deal from them. Poor teachers are poor with or without IT and students learn little from them.
It's a truism that's pretty obvious, but bears repeating. In my opinion, technology can only enhance the teaching/learning experience, since good teachers will have the wisdom to deploy it carefully. Less skilled teachers will deploy it poorly (e.g. using it as a gimmick instead of an useful tool), but then again those are precisely the teachers that would be wasting student's time with other tools (chalkboards, textbooks, etc.).

This is not to say that there have not been "growing pains" with integrating technology into teaching. Certainly I've seen otherwise competent professors make mistakes with over-zealously deploying an immature teaching tool. But, overall, I think the unsurprising conclusion is that all these new technologies provide advantages to those who are smart enough to exploit them properly.

My general view is that rather than try to integrate specific technologies (which then become gimmick-like), it's best to simply make generic resources available to students and teachers (e.g. computer labs, Wi-Fi, laptop loaner programs, site-wide software licenses, etc.). When resources are available, students will inherently gravitate towards using them in the most useful ways. For example, rather than explicitly integrating a particular piece of tech into a course (a particular software package, forcing students to use an online message board, etc.), my inclination would be to make a bunch of avenues for learning available, and see which ones the students inherently use.

Less than half ever take laptops to class (1)

wal9001 (1041058) | about 7 years ago | (#20636585)

Is it some kind of surprise that most people don't bring laptops to lectures? Text notes are easy to take, but god forbid your professor draws a diagram and you don't have a tablet. Also, considering how much willpower it takes me to sit at my computer for an hour without firing up Tetris, I can see that it might have a bad influence on my grades. If it's not going to help me learn more I see no reason to have it with me.

Looks more like entertainment (3, Interesting)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 7 years ago | (#20636617)

I was in the first class of engineers which my school required to have a computer. That was 20 years ago. I now live in that college town, and have occasional interaction with the engineering department and its students. (No, that's not what I meant - get your mind out of the gutter). They use computers for the same things I did - CAD, spreadsheets, term papers. They get more out of them through the internet as many professors put assignments, notes and samples on line. We didn't play too many games because there weren't many immersive ones, and we didn't surf because the internet did not exist then as it exists now. The web had not yet been created (by web, I mean HTML and browsers). We didn't chat, unless you count BBSs - which I don't. We didn't download music or videos - most PCs didn't have sound cards, video wasn't really possible on an 8086, and p0rn, even if it existed was not really a hot item at 320x240 (in a stunning 256 colors).

It seems that most of the progress has been in added functionality (as in more built-in functions - 3D solid cad, more rows/cols) and speed of processing. Everything else seems to be more about entertainment, whether its games, connectivity, or casual information (surfing). Students can amass more crap via downloads, but if you never print it out or look at it on the screen page-by-page it's just as bad as a Kinkos-printed set of notes where you watch the comb spine slowly yellow over the years. Actually, I suppose its worse - without that yellow spine in the bookcase to remind you that you have it, you don't even remember that lecture note set exists, buried in some sub-folder in you document directory.

IMHO very little has changed in 20 years on the teaching front. The critical component to education in the interactive ability of the teacher and student to work together. Web-enabled learning still tens to fall short, imho, and expanding class attendance through distance learning just reduces the opportunity to get everyone involved in the learning process.

Wait...I take part of that back - email does make a difference. Quick questions can be answered efficiently in an asynchronous manner that wasn't possible in my day (yes, we had voicemail, but couldn't copy the whole class). Still, it doesn't really scream "new teaching methods are necessary," unless new teaching methods involves putting web blocking software in the routers to keep the kids from surfing in a boring lecture.

Re:Looks more like entertainment (1)

Corporate Troll (537873) | about 7 years ago | (#20637449)

320x240 (in a stunning 256 colors)

Basic high-colour VGA was 320x200 at 256 colours from a 16.7million colour choice. The 320x240 mode existed, but it was known as Mode-X and was hard to implement and required some hacks. So, our pr0n back in the day was 320x200 @ 8-bit... That said, I played 4 bit EGA strip poker... I'm pretty sure there was 2 bit CGA pr0n and monochrome pr0n. After all, there was even ASCII pr0n. Seen on the IBM mainframes at my dads work, but then that was probably EBCDIC pr0n ;-)

Re:Looks more like entertainment (1)

SpeedyBandito (789964) | about 7 years ago | (#20637741)

I now live in that college town, and have occasional interaction with the engineering department and its students. (No, that's not what I meant - get your mind out of the gutter).
Oh yeah baby, don't stop "interacting" with my "engineering department". Oooh, and don't forget the "students"!

Nothing to see, move along... (1)

GoatRavisher (779902) | about 7 years ago | (#20636679)

And I quote, "IT is not a good substitute for good teaching. Good teachers are good with or without IT and students learn a great deal from them. Poor teachers are poor with or without IT and students learn little from them."
I wonder what kind of ROI universities get out on their IT projects. I visit a lot of universities and I regularly encounter empty computer labs, students ignoring lectures while listening to iPods, texting on mobile phones, and/or playing games on their laptop; lecture times cut short by the professor's lack of understanding of the basic operation of poorly implemented presentation technology.

News? (1)

NeoTerra (986979) | about 7 years ago | (#20636735)

I'm not quite sure how this is a surprising result of study. Just about anyone that spends a fair amount of time at a college would be able to tell you this. I do agree with the article on one important matter:

The epigraph to the report's sixth chapter, from a student's written comments, goes a long way toward summarizing what the authors say is the place of technology in the college setting today: "IT is not a good substitute for good teaching. Good teachers are good with or without IT and students learn a great deal from them. Poor teachers are poor with or without IT and students learn little from them."
The rest of the article just seems to be obvious conclusions that doesn't require much study of anything.

Technology & history (2, Interesting)

carandol (1110309) | about 7 years ago | (#20636745)

I'm a mature student doing an undergraduate history degree at a UK university, and the lecturers say that historical research has been completely revolutionised in the last five years by the internet. As an example, take Early English Books Online (EEBO), which has scans and transcriptions of every book published in English between the invention of the printing press 1750. Instead of having to travel to obscure academic libraries to find rare books (or manage without them), I can read all the source material I need for my dissertation from home via a VPN connection to my university. With a tool like Zotero for Firefox I can download the books to my laptop and make notes all over them -- try doing that with a 17th century manuscript :-)

Re:Technology & history (1)

pintpusher (854001) | about 7 years ago | (#20637237)

That's great example, but I have to note what is probably the key point in your comment -- "mature". I am embarking on a path to become a "mature" undergrad as well (I'm 37) and I'm excited to get to it. But when I was a younger undergrad (18-19 and again at 23) I just didn't have the focus, will, and self-discipline to stay engaged in my classes. I don't think I could have handled the major distractions that come with today's IT infrastructure. I would surely have washed out even quicker than I did.

So there are really two side to the issue. On the one side, there are great technologies such as what you've mentioned, collaborative technologies for writers and researchers, ready availability of computational and compilers and languages for math and CS majors and so forth -- all really great applications of technology in education.
On the other, you have kids playing games or IM'ing their buddies while in the back of a lecture hall. Or worse, working on their CS code while sitting in the back of an english lecture ;).

Re:Technology & history (1)

carandol (1110309) | about 7 years ago | (#20637529)

I think we have a lot less students taking laptops into lectures here than in the US -- possibly because hardware's more expensive here, so less students have laptops, and those who *do* have them in lectures are seen as showing off rather than being practical. But I do find it a bit worrying when I get email from other students; they all seem to write as though they're texting, and obviously don't consider spelling and punctuation a necessary part of communication. Maybe it isn't, since I can understand their emails, so maybe I'm just an old fogey, but I do hope their English is better when writing essays!

UK students (1)

Wowsers (1151731) | about 7 years ago | (#20636747)

UK students today, if they can use MS-Word and can use a web browser, they can use a computer to an expert level. And there in lies the problem.

We have little teaching of actual programming and use of a computer (setting up a simple network, installing and configure software), just how to use a word processor. Although, the state of dumbed down education today, you'd half expect exams in how to send a SMS (text) message on a mobile phone, or how to get the top score in Tetris on a phone.

Re:UK students (1)

Orkie (899576) | about 7 years ago | (#20637149)

Surely you can't really believe education is dumbed down? Maybe for the 'media science' (as some universities now call it) students but not for those who take more traditional, worthwhile subjects.

Re:UK students (1)

Wowsers (1151731) | about 7 years ago | (#20637505)

Unfortunately, I do believe education is being dumbed down for traditional HARD subjects... for full article read the URL, but there's a bit of it:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/education/6038638.stm/ [bbc.co.uk]

The new GCSE science curriculum has been branded "sound bite science" which takes a back-to-front approach.

Sir Richard Sykes, rector of Imperial College London, is among the scientists to attack the core qualification, in which pupils discuss topical issues.

He warned a "dumbed down syllabus" may stop those who did not study chemistry, physics and biology individually from getting into good universities.

The Department for Education said the new GCSEs did involve academic rigour.

In recent years most pupils have studied a "combined science" double GCSE, rather than separate science subjects which are largely confined to grammar and independent schools.

But from this September, most are taking a GCSE in "scientific literacy for the 21st Century" - covering issues including global warming and mobile phone technology.

The expectation is they will also do an Additional Science GCSE - either "general", with a more factual basis, or "applied", with a more practical focus.

Science is going to be relegated to the position of Latin and Greek and will only be taught in the independent schools Baroness Mary Warnock.

However, Sir Richard told BBC News: "If you wish to have a dumbed-down syllabus for the general population that's fine. But for those who really want to go on and study a subject in depth, and particularly go to a good university like Imperial, then they'll never get there unless they study the individual subjects and take A-levels in these individual subjects."

He believes the new GCSEs will make it harder for pupils from state schools to study science at top universities as science departments prefer more traditional courses.

Or for dire situation on modern languages:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2007/08/23/ngcse123.xml/ [telegraph.co.uk]

Re:UK students (1)

Wowsers (1151731) | about 7 years ago | (#20637563)

Oops, remove last '/' from the end of the URL's if you visit them to make the URL's work.

More hurt than good, really. (1)

eepok (545733) | about 7 years ago | (#20636763)

It's hard to say no to a new tech grant because new computers and the possibility of a "laptop for every child" can look so good in the Sunday paper, but the truth of the matter is that high technology (like PDAs, cellphones, computers, even graphing calculators at times) are so much more distracting than helpful that I, working in education AND being such a techy have to be the lone educated person in the room saying thing like, "No, it will only hurt the kids! Just upgrade the office computers and pay for computer/program/database training for the staff!"

That said, the only "infiltration" is the exploitation of the technology so as to make goofing off that much easier and that much less detectable.

I always get weird looks like, "What in the world do you know?" and I always have to reexplain that the kids know computers better than the administration would ever like to know and will find ways to communicate when they shouldn't or play/make games would they should be working.

At BEST, I'd like to see a completely crippled tablet mini-pc that exists solely for taking notes and uploading those notes to personal webspace. There is so little that tech has to offer the student and so much harm to do to the class.

Now, if you don't mind, I have to get back to writing a grant proposal for new flat screen televisions in the class room. /sigh

mixed feelings (2, Insightful)

Anne Honime (828246) | about 7 years ago | (#20636777)

Having spent a lot of time in the education system, both in front and behind the desk, I have mixed feelings about all this IT craze. When I was a pupil back in the 80's, I had to brew my own text processor (cp/m computer, wordprocessor still to be invented...). Wonderful experience, I typed back home my (terrible) handwritten notes. I still don't think it helped me a bit learning my lessons, but it taught me about computers when it was still quite new and shinny. Coolness factor at the time, about zero. Being a nerd wasn't hype then.

Reel forward : 20 years later, I'm teaching criminal law. Still a nerd, but mainly as a hobbyist. Still produce most of my work on computers, likes wikipedia (but know it's not a source of scholarly value), use fluently most parts of internet. Students in front of me are wired as much as they can lift. After letting them do as they please (we're at university, they should be grown up, FFS), I have to step in and forbid recording devices in my class room, read the riot act (throwing the lowest possible marks as if shot in burst with a M16) at those stupid enough to forget I too can google parts of their dissertation to find the true author, etc. Now, I don't even provide a powerpoint during the course, they f*ckin' have to listen to me and write things down with a pencil. If they don't like that, my door is always open and works both ways.

Finally, my feeling is IT is very good for homework, library work, and anything research-related. But it's the worst ennemy of the student willing to truly learn. I know many will swear that it's helping them, but that's self delusion. I too had a friend before internet who used to swear sticking colored stars next to chapters heads was helping him. It failed. he should have read the actual contents instead of fuzzing around. So have done successful students for past centuries, so will they for centuries to come.

Nothing replace hard personnal work. But there is still a place for IT : it's a considerable step forward for anonymity of dissertations, and it avoids students having low marks for the sole reason the teacher can't decipher them because they have a bad writing.

Re:mixed feelings (1)

qdaku (729578) | about 7 years ago | (#20637549)

My favorite professors at university eschewed the use of most technology besides using powerpoint as a glorified slide projector --which was a bonus over the one guy who DID use a slide projector. He was 93 though and taught an amazing class in air photo analysis though, so I can't really blame him for being old fashioned.
The other professors class was typically 25-30 slides of case history images. No words. You wrote like a madman and annotated photos with a zillion arrows. Proper notes were made off those later at home to make them legible down the road. I don't think I got as much out of any other class as that one. I run into him at conferences all the time and always thank him.
Note-taking is a giant skill that seems to be disappearing. I've recently gotten into bits of teaching and I'm shocked at the note-taking and memory skills of the average 2nd year university student.
All you need is a pad of a paper (graph paper is nice) and at least 1 pen. If you have more than one color it's a bonus, but not a necessity.

Building relevant categories ... (1)

foobsr (693224) | about 7 years ago | (#20636907)

From TFA: "...What they're doing when they're online is also changing somewhat, with the rise of Facebook and other social networking sites as the clearest trend this year (to 80.3 percent from 72.3 percent in 2006), along with streaming video and course management software, which 46.1 percent of respondents said they use several times a week or more (compared with 39.6 percent in 2006). ..."

... meanwhile, they probably do not learn to properly cluster only similar entities into umbrella categories.

CC.

What a superb article (4, Funny)

Rogerborg (306625) | about 7 years ago | (#20636917)

I'm so glad that my eyes 'evolved' since my birth to allow me to read it on an LCD screen rather than the primitive CRT screens that my parents 'evolved' with. I guess my DNA got mangled about the same time that my fingers 'evolved' the ability to press little square buttons in order to produce this post.

In other news, I'm still awaiting the mutation that will allow me to 'evolve' the ability to let pop science jargon slip by unchallenged. I pray to God every day that to reach in with with His Noodly Appendage and screw with my chromosomes.

why so few "mass media" professors? (3, Informative)

peter303 (12292) | about 7 years ago | (#20636925)

The idea is fairly old - Thomas Edison the inventor of the phonograph and co-inventor of movie films proposed commercializing education by recording the most charismatic teachers and showing them at schools. This supposedly would solve two cost problems: first you stimulate students with the best teachers; second you reduce the number of [expensive] teachers by replicating their presententions. EVERY TIME a new form of media was invented since Edison someone has proposed the same arguments for commercializing education- to this day, now with Internet text messaging and videos. To a small degree the InterNet has facilitated grade-school charter school and college-trade schools. It cuts the cost of classrooms, but not the labor costs of interactive teachers. There must be something fundamental about the interative give-and-take of teachers and students thats resisted change int the 2500 years since Plato's Academy.

Re:why so few "mass media" professors? (2, Interesting)

Overzeetop (214511) | about 7 years ago | (#20637001)

Of course this won't happen. You mentioned that teaching is an interactive process, but you forgot to add that the TIAA would require a payment of nearly the cost of a typical teacher to replay the recordings. Technology is about opportunity to increase revenue through efficiency, not about increasing efficiency for its own sake.

Who says you evolve with technology? (2, Insightful)

jollyreaper (513215) | about 7 years ago | (#20636951)

I can point to several religious websites that will refute that very notion. I'm not sure if I find it ironic, tragic, or maddening that religionists will use the latest in multimedia technology, the product of the scientific method and research, to spread their anti-intellectual and anti-science message. And they would certainly take great umbrage at the use of the word "evolution" to describe the changes in their evangelism strategy. We're talking about using satellite and internet communications to promulgate the tribal superstitions of poor, ignorant goat-herders. Ugh! If we were still listening to you guys, you wouldn't have satellites and TV! You wouldn't even have PA systems!

Oh, well. At least the Muslims have been known to use the technology to party [youtube.com] . I've heard of sucka MC's but never mullah MC's.

Paper and pencils (1)

psychicsword (1036852) | about 7 years ago | (#20637259)

As a college student I have to say what the hell are these paper and pencils I keep hearing about. Is it supposed to be a form of laptop replacement?

I post this from a laptop in a lecture. (1)

Diordna (815458) | about 7 years ago | (#20637261)

I'm currently sitting in a big lecture hall. Average physics (mechanics) class. Case Western Reserve University.

There's a giant chalkboard in the front which the professor is writing on. There's a little desk off to the side that can send video to a projector. I think I learn the material better when he writes on the board, but sometimes a video demonstration is more convenient than trying to set up a complex demo (ie looking at a sequence of timed photos). He also provides the notes online, as well as all handouts. This is mostly to save paper, but it's still more convenient than paper, and even more accessible, since I can carry all my papers around in one book-sized object.

Educational tech is good in moderation. I love not having to carry around 50 pieces of paper, but I wouldn't want to be taught via streaming video.

(Of course, I guess it's very telling that I'm writing a post on /. during class, but then again, it keeps me awake for when he gets around to the important stuff and stops just repeating 'F=ma'.)

Re:I post this from a laptop in a lecture. (2, Funny)

iBod (534920) | about 7 years ago | (#20637475)

I've just messaged your prof to tell him to throw a piece of chalk at you.

Re:I post this from a laptop in a lecture. (1)

carandol (1110309) | about 7 years ago | (#20637631)

Perhaps he'd stop repeating F=ma if you looked like you were paying attention :-)

Re:I post this from a laptop in a lecture. (1)

jhp64 (813449) | about 7 years ago | (#20637667)

(Of course, I guess it's very telling that I'm writing a post on /. during class, but then again, it keeps me awake for when he gets around to the important stuff and stops just repeating 'F=ma'.)
If it's a physics class, then repeating 'F=ma' is the important stuff.

Dakota State University (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20637275)

My university is an almost completely paperless campus. Every student, teacher, and administrator has a tablet pc. All homework, tests, notes, and whatever else you can think of is done with digital ink. It works amazingly well and considering how small and in-the-middle-of-nowhere it is I am surprised the large and progessive universities don't have systems like this already. http://www.dsu.edu/ [dsu.edu]

Re:Dakota State University (1)

iBod (534920) | about 7 years ago | (#20637615)

It sounds so unnecessary, and expensive.

Could you explain the benefits of this tech-heavy approach in a learning environment?

Personally, if I had to go back (too many years!) to the classroom, I think the tech would seriously get in my way.

Also, reading back over paper notes and sketched diagrams seems to embed the information more firmly in my brain.

Ok, maybe I'm an old fart, but give me paper and pen every time in a classroom, business meeting, or creative thinking moment.

They haven't "Evolved"... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20637605)

they were "intelligently" designed that way...

by corporate machines...

If knowledge is all it's cracked up to be..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#20637647)

then whatever method you use to put it over shouldn't matter a damn.

Whether you use programmed sleep learning or sit in some olive groves with an Athenian philosopher, if knowledge is real then you'll learn it. If it's crap, then you won't.

And, on the whole, I would rather be talking to Socrates than typing at a keyboard, even if the assembled knowledge of the world was available on the net.

ob (1)

Moderatbastard (808662) | about 7 years ago | (#20637737)

As a student, let me say: tl;dr

Not much (1)

blueZ3 (744446) | about 7 years ago | (#20637751)

As far as real differences on either end of the log.

My mom's a professor at a college where they wholeheartedly embraced computer technology in the classroom right from when it first became viable (for non-comp-sci professors) and from my observations both as a student and in visiting her on campus, it hasn't really made a big difference.

Those tenured old bores who droned on in endless lecture are now (mostly) reading PowerPoing presentations bullet-by-bullet. Engaging speakers who made connections with what students already know and what they will encounter after school are (mostly) just as effective. It's now possible to get the class syllabus on-line. Students who were meticulous about turning in assignments on time still are. The lazy ones who couldn't be bothered to look at a paper syllabus still don't. Those who took notes still do, albeit sometimes in a different way--the daydreamers are now playing Solitare.

Setting aside the hype, what makes a student (or professor) successful hasn't changed in the last few hundred years, at least. It's possible that old Zog was droning on about mammoth hunts while Grum was showing his actual spear moves for fighting sabertooth tigers.

I understand that there are those with poor organizational skills who feel there's been a great benefit to them, but I fail to see why they couldn't have had success using a paper planner.

Much like books, or other teaching "technology", computers can only empower those who are already prepared for learning and teaching.
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