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Thesis & Antithesis

A critical perspective on energy, international politics & current affairs

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Location: Washington, D.C.

greekdefaultwatch@gmail.com Natural gas consultant by day, blogger on the Greek economy by night. Trained as an economist and political scientist. I believe in common sense and in data, and my aim is to offer insight written in language that is clear and convincing.

03 May 2006

Distracted students

The Christian Science Monitor reports that professors increasingly want their classrooms to be unwired—computers in the classroom, they believe, distract students who spend time checking email or chatting with friends online. Don Herzog, a law professor at University of Michigan, experimentally banned computers in the classroom for a day; the result was a dream discussion with students, he said.

Forgive my incredulity but a boring class is a boring class. It cannot be salvaged by banning computers. The student who is interested will remain interested, whether notes are taken in a computer, on paper, or not at all. And the student who has lost interest in the class will find ways to avoid paying attention: look around at the cute classmates that occupy the room, peek outside the window and anticipate the moment of freedom that is to come, scribble odd cartoons in the book’s margins, or, in the old-fashioned way, daydream away from whatever the professor is sharing that day. At least catching up on email or doing internet shopping is time better spent than the traditional class-avoidance schemes that students resort to as a way to cope with boring classes.

References:
Maia Ridberg, “Professors want their classes 'unwired',” Christian Science Monitor, 4 May 06 (link)

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