I’ve thought out loud here about digital devices (summarizing related posts here and here). If you’re one of my students reading this (or even if not!), have a look at those posts, then here are a few questions to ponder:
- Do classroom device (laptop/mobile) bans work for you? Why or why not? Do you feel device use helps you learn better in the classroom? Why or why not?
- How does our ambivalence toward technology connect to this issue?
- How do the important skills of mono- and multi-tasking apply here?
- So, then, what about learning in grounding vs. connecting mode?
Based on those posts, here is my proposed digital devices classroom policy for spring 2017:
- Digital devices (laptops and mobile devices) can both help and hurt learning. (It that such a revelation?) We’ll thus will have two device times, which I’ll announce in class: device disconnected and device connected, corresponding to grounding vs. connecting learning modes.
- Device disconnected usage:
- Your device must be entirely offline (i.e., wifi and cellular service off—for mobile devices, set in airplane mode).
- Your disconnected device may still present distractions, e.g., that paper you are working on! You will agree to use devices only for my current course-related work while in my classroom—or simply not use devices.
- Device connected usage:
- No social media, email, web browsing (except for my course-specific purposes), or related non-course app use.
- Some distractions (e.g., incoming texts) will nonetheless arrive when you are connected. You will agree to ignore them, or to address via shortcuts (e.g., text replacement), so as to minimize.
- I will help you build skills in using your devices for optimal learning, whether disconnected or connected. You will apply these skills toward optimal learning while in my classroom.
- We all get distracted, so we will encourage each other to focus (whether mono- or multi-tasking) and remember the above.
- Finally: I am not your parent or a police officer. But you show respect for me, for your learning, and for your classmates by following this policy. If you struggle to remember the above, I may remind you then and there.