Thanks to laptops, I have to compete with the most sophisticated portable entertainment device ever conceived by man…welcome to the modern classroom.
Now, I could dig deep into my primal nature and do what authority figures have done for thousands of years in the face of competition: stamp out the competitor. Rather, I keep my inner-dictator at bay and let my students surf freely.
1). Multi-tasking is an essential 21st Century Skill. Tuning into multiple streams of information is a great way to capture lots of data. Personally, I’ve stumbled upon (no pun intended) countless critical pieces of research because my laptop is attuned to about a dozen feed services simultaneously (Twitter, RSS, Facebook, email….and the list goes on).
Make no mistake, even in a class of 40, I can tell when a student loses focus on me, and I call them out. I want them to know there are consequences for failing to multi-task well.
2). It makes me a better teacher. Having to compete with the likes of Youtube and Collegehumor has turned my lectures into standup comedy. What was once forgettable is now engaging. If I see eyes staring up at me over the rim of a laptop screen, I know it’ll be remembered.
Would you prefer that teachers ban laptops? Do you want employees which are adept at social media?