Laptops in class shown to make students more engaged through a new interactive system

   Since technology has become increasingly popular and more prominent in our society, teachers and professors are constantly trying to eliminate technology in the classroom in order for students to pay more attention in class. But thanks to professor Perry Samson at the University of Michigan, using laptops in class has made students more attentive and interacted in the lecture. That's because he created an interactive student response system called LectureTools. It deliberately engages students in the lecture by allowing them to write notes on lecture slides, engage in class polls, and ask anonymous questions to the professor in which the whole class can see the question and answer. Students can also rate their understanding of each slide. Although students have admitted to wandering off to other sites occasionally, ultimately students are more engaged in the lecture.
    I believe this information to valid because I know from experience that a class where the professor is just talking the entire time can completely disengage me from the lecture. However, if I am engaged in what is going on, I am more likely to pay attention. Also, a lot of people are afraid to ask a "dumb question", therefore the anonymous question posting good feedback for the professor. Also, according to the study, 78% of people agreed that laptops in class made them more engaged. Contrary to popular belief, the numbers show that technology in class can do more good than bad.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100520161950.htm …

An Iowa professor lets students decide whether personal technology should be used in his classroom.


Professor David Gooblar has taken a radical stance on technology use in his college classroom. Allowing his students to collaborate to draw up, discuss, and set their own class rules regarding personal technology use during class time, he engages his students in that wider, very relevant discussion from the get-go. Students are able to weigh the pros and cons of using laptops or smartphones, such as ease of notetaking versus distractions from learning and the ever-pervasive temptation to cheat. In a 2013 study from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, college students cited social networking, boredom, and entertainment as the main non-class related uses of their technology during class, resulting in “[not paying] attention,” “miss[ed] instruction,” and “distract[ing] others.” Luckily, Gooblar’s innovative process of implementing rules as a class further would seem to appeal to students’ consciences, reminding them of their responsibilities as students to themselves as well as to their fellow classmates, in a way that would be nearly absent if the professor just set rules without their input. Perhaps more professors should consider a similar approach in their own modern classroom environments.

College Students Urged to Stop Checking their IPhones and Instead Start checking their E-mails for Class Updates



     Courtney Rubin’s article “Technology and the College Generation”, found on the New York Times’ website, discusses college student's decreasing interest of checking e-mails for in-class assignment updates and communicating with professors. In the past, students would blame not having access to virtual communication for not being able to e-mail their professors. However, nowadays the speed and process of e-mailing has become an issue. At the University of Southern California, Nina Eliasoph talks about her students’ views towards emailing, “Now students avoid e-mail because it is too slow compared to texting”. Students only spend on average 6 minutes a day checking their email, according to an experiment conducted earlier this year by Reynol Junco, an associate professor of library science at Purdue. Even professors are finding emails to be outdated. For example, Paul Jones, who teaches at the University of North Carolina, says “E-mail is a sinkhole where knowledge goes to die.” Mr. Jones gave up e-mail in 2011.
     As a college student, I do find myself worrying whenever I receive an e-mail from a professor, fearing I won’t know how to reply properly, or knowing that there is a chance I’ll forget to even send a reply. Not knowing if my reply had been received and anxiously awaiting a reply is also technologically frustrating. Whereas, through social media or texting a student can get alerts or notifications faster and more noticeably which, facilitates the process or responding.

Should teachers decide fate of students' technology use in the classroom? Or should that decision be left to those it's effecting?

Many teachers place a ban on technology in the classroom because of the constant distraction it can be to the student, but laptops and other such technologies can be of aid to students.  Trying to keep up in lecture with notes and discussion is a lot of times much easier for students with the help of computers.  Being able to type the notes rather than writing them keeps them organized and all in one space for referring back to.  Aside from the organization factor, it is also seemingly cheaper for many students to have reading material online and being able to then interact with it that way, rather than having to buy printed versions.  Additionally, during lectures technology can be of use by being able to refer to outside sources and those assigned.  Although, yes it is understandable that professors want their students to pay attention and really learn the material being taught, and of course the use of technology in the classroom can hinder that, the decision should be left with the students.  Technology shouldn't be banned indefinitely because of those who don't use it responsibly when there are those who really use it to aid their study habits. 

Spending a fortune on textbooks COULD be a thing of the past thanks to the rapidly improving E-text

In the beginning of the semester most students cringe at the high outrageous price(s) of their required textbooks. So as technology rapidly becomes more innovative, comes the growth of the e-textbook industry. An electronic, online version of the paper text that is available for nearly every college textbook as a download on many devices such as tablets, mobile phones and laptops. This paperless text is also significantly cheaper. So why are only "11% of students accessing their books online"? This is because the downloadable versions of these books have not yet come full circle with technology; they have glitches that make the students bite their tongue as they continue to pay high prices for the physical books. With all the new emerging technology students want the e-text to be interactive, to be a more appealing as a  learning tool. The components of the e-text that are still lacking are things like the ability to watch video, highlight important words or paragraphs, and share your reading and notes with fellow classmates. However there are several companies including Apple and Wiley who are working on such features in e-texts to make the product more interactive and easy to use. These companies are partnering with universities to be on the forefront of developing e-texts as they see the next generation of college students 100% utilizing this format of text as opposed to the soon obsolete paper text. 

Email use amongst College students is so sparse that it could be considered an "out of body experience"? Is it even entirely necessary anymore?

Many would come to believe that technology is so synonymous with the college generation that there should never be any problems with the progressive forms of learning being implemented throughout various colleges across the country. The New York Times contradicts this popular notion with their interesting article that highlights the unsatisfactory relationship between college students nowadays and the use of email. While every college student is admittedly fluent in all forms of social media and web surfing, they are much less prone to check their email much less respond to one in an appropriate period of time. This could pose a significant problem for this prospective generation as more and more courses in college are starting to utilize the flexibility of combining hard work in the classroom with electronically submitted work outside of it. The rise of these "blended learning" classes have prompted professors to lean more heavily on email as their primary form of communication with their respective students. The article accentuates an instance where many students were completely unprepared for a quiz because they were unaware of the changes to their readings sent out via email. The most troubling part about the entire situation is that a lot of the students who were unaware of the changes did not even realize that they had their own student email through the school to be checking. One professor within the article equated using email for his students to an "out of body experience" due to the rarity of it ever happening compared to the many other forms of technology out there. I'm hard pressed to believe that this particular case is not an aberration for our current generation of college students. In order for our learning to truly be taken to the next level through the use of technology and it's benefits, we as college students are responsible for utilizing our email to enhance our learning that no longer is just limited to the classroom. However, a different article I found on an accredited website argued that email is a form of communication that is falling to the wayside. Their belief is that there is much more personal ways to reach each individual student that can help utilize their technological skills. They insisted that email would soon die off in favor of a more group based setting through either text messages or social media. In the end, education is attempting to keep up with the advanced technology of today that seemingly continues to grow. It is up to us as college students along with the professors to make the most of said technology to enhance our education.

Can Having the Right Instructor Make Technology a Positive Tool in the Classroom?

The exponential advancement of technology and its capabilities has sparked a debate within our society. Can using technology, like laptops and tablets, within the classroom improve a student's performance and cognitive ability? Or does the presence of these devices hinder a student's ability to learn and expand their knowledge without distractions? Sadly, there is no clearcut response to these questions. But, I believe technology in the classroom can be a wonderful thing, and here's why. Tablets and laptops put the world at the fingertips of students. Yes, this is scary in the eyes of many professors, but if the instructor is well adapted to these devices than he/she can take advantage of useful learning tools. The professor is everything. If one has no knowledge regarding how to operate a device, than of course his students will linger and scroll through various sites and worlds on their screens. To that end, if the instructor is proficient with technology, than he will be capable of enhancing the good devices can be used for while also keeping his students on track. I think this article supports this claim. Of course some students will continue to stray off track if they use technology, but these students have always existed in every classroom even when devices were not present.

This story highlights how many students, and my professor, view devices as helpful as well.

Contradictory to popular belief, use of technology in the classrooms may not actually increase test scores


All over the country, teachers and professors are implementing the use of iPads and laptops in their classroom in order to enhance their students learning. Though it seems as though this additional technology would help students learn and increase the amount of information readily available, unfortunately this is not necessarily the case. According to a study where one third of a class was given iPad 2s and one third of the class solely used hardcover textbooks (one third of the class didn’t participate), at the end of the semester, both groups had almost the exact same average test scores.  This shows that even with the excessive amount of technology available, students can still learn just as well without it.  With this being said though, most of the students using the iPad gave very positive feedback. According to interviews with many of the students, the results suggested that “iPads are quick useful, portable, and easy to interact with, and college students seem to be very interested in using them.” Though the use of technology may not change the actual test scores of the students, overall the students generally liked to use them. They felt as though the iPads truly enhanced their learning, which may be a reason in itself to begin to implement technology into the classroom.

E-textbooks are Going to have to Become Much More User-friendly if they want to Beat out Paper Textbooks in the Long Run

Many people who use e-textbooks use them because they are the cheaper option; not because they are easier to use or more helpful in studying. An electronic version of almost every college textbook is available, yet only 11% of students are accessing their books online. Students feel that the PDF files the e-textbooks pages are made up of are "clunky and eye straining to read." So, in a world where technology is taking over in every aspect of society, how are e-textbooks planning on catching up? A completely new platform for e-textbooks that is more user-friendly and appealing to consumers. E-book producers such as Wiley, Kno, and Apple, are all working on adding features that make the E-book experience more enjoyable and interactive. Videos, note-sharing, and the ability to add third-party content are just some of these knew features that will hopefully make technology a real front-runner in the textbook world. Textbook publishers are pairing up with Universities and running trials of several new technologies to see if students will jump on the bandwagon of this less-expensive, technological direction the world of education is traveling in. If students are accepting of these new user-friendly e-textbook options, the next generation of college students will graduate without ever holding a textbook in their hand.

Schools in Bad Areas Attempt to Close the Achievement Gap Between Rich and Poor with Technology; Instead, it Makes it Even Wider.

In the Kensington neighborhood within Philadelphia, money is weary in households. School officials in this neighborhood chose to implement technology in order to close the achievement gap between their neighborhood, which has been afflicted with poverty, and affluent areas. Their belief was that technology would give the opportunity to even the playing field for all involved. Unfortunately, the response they received was quite the opposite of what was expected.

Instead, the achievement gap between rich and poor became even larger. The reason for this phenomenon is due to the fact that kids in rich areas use computers different than kids in poor areas. According to Neuman and Celano, two researchers that have been involved in studying this "digital divide," the reason behind this involves the types of programs that children utilize. Kids in poor areas and kids in rich areas use different programs and engage in different mental processes. This is best described by the Matthew Effect, which states that those who take advantage of tools available to them early on will exponentially benefit from such tools. Thus, the kids of Kensington actually suffered. In conclusion, the achievement gap between these students will not be closed with technology, as one needs to be introduced to it early in order to reap the benefits.

Study shows that students reading e-textbooks on iPads do not perform better with or favor e-textbooks over hard copy textbooks.

            In this study done by Framingham State University, a classroom was divided into three groups in order to study the efficiency, likability, and success of students using iPads to read e-textbooks vs. a standard hard copy textbook. One-third of a Human Anatomy class were given iPads with e-textbooks downloaded on them, one-third of the class used hard copy versions of the same text, and the final third of the class chose not to participate in the study. I believe the data and information concluded from this study is valid because all the participants were in the same class with the same professor all during the same semester, as well as because I have had experience will both forms of texts that makes the results relatable to me and the feedback given seem relevant.
            The results of this study showed that the group of participants using e-textbooks on the iPads did not perform extremely better nor worse than those students using hard copy textbooks. Although, the participants did give other feedback that was significant in terms of their opinion on the use of iPads for educational purposes. What was concluded was that students using the iPads enjoyed their portability and the fact that they did not have to lug around a heavy textbook just to look at a few pages. They also found that their skills with the iPad greatly increased as their semester in the class progressed. Many students even said that they would like to use for schoolwork outside of this particular class if they had owned a personal iPad. However, not all the feedback from the iPad and e-textbook users was positive. Participants from this group were said that they would have preferred a physical keyboard and mouse to help make iPad functions easier, were concerned that the iPad was not easy to print from, and also were dissatisfied with the highlighting and annotating features with the e-text.  In conclusion, 47% e-textbook users said they would rather use hard copy over the e-text. This data as well as feedback from the participants of the study is extremely insightful for the future of education and the debate of where technology's place is within the classroom.

Laptops Have a Negative Effect in the University Distracting Students from Fully Engaging in Classrooms

The use of laptops are prominent in each university classrooms among students. Although the use of laptops possesses many qualities that enhances the ability to increase a student's education, it surprisingly distracts majority of students from reaching their potential. In Glass's article"Laptops may be the ultimate classroom distraction,"she mentions the many occurrences of students browsing the Internet during lecture such as  online shopping instead of paying attention to what the professor has to say. The other day as I was sitting through lecture, almost half of the students who were sitting in front of me were either watching videos, browsing online stores, or writing homework assignments for other classes.

 It is needless to say that laptops are a distraction when it comes to a learning environment. Many times students are focus more of their attention on what is on screen instead of the words that are coming out of the Professor. A study has been organized by a University of Colorado college professor who observes that "a class averaged 11% worse on tests" in comparison to students who take notes without a laptop, using pen and paper. Although the laptop provides a quicker way to take notes, it actually hinders students from actively participating in class discussions. This distraction may be because of the attention we place on our screens even if we do not have any web access. Students are not fully present in discussions when a laptop is in front of them. From Glass's perspective, she notes her memorable experience of class stating  that she enjoyed the classes that banned the use of laptops. The ban of laptops in the class is what allows Glass to keep in contact with her professors and made her experiences in the classroom memorable. Likewise, I would like to see the classroom environment without the use of laptops and see students fully present in discussions.