Tag Archives: Lecture

Digital distraction in the classroom

Digital Distractions

At the start of my summer class this year, a quiet and diligent student asked a seemingly innocuous question.  “Do you allow use of laptops in class?”  Sure, I said, as long as they’re on task.  I had my TA sit behind her a few times and double-check — she was indeed simply using the online lecture material and taking notes as she went.  I was satisfied.  And she was the only student bringing a laptop to class.
But somehow, around week 2 or 3 (out of 5), something changed.  It was so insidious, I didn’t even realize there was a problem until it was too late.
[So how can you tackle this? Read on for some useful suggestions.]
Full Text: The Active Class » Blog Archive » Digital distraction in the classroom.

Five Reasons Why Twitter Is Amazing In Large Lecture Classes

The guest professor in my large class of 200 journalism students at Michigan State University was just hitting his stride when suddenly every single student plunged to the ground as though looking for a dropped pencil. Stunned, the speaker continued his talk. About 15 minutes later the students leapt to their feet and applauded furiously! Shattered, he began to realize that something he was saying, some word, was igniting this explosive response from the students.
At the time I was on a flight to Denver and the speaker was doing me a favor taking over my class. As the plane was about to land I got a text message from him (yes, I had my phone illegally turned on) that simply said, “You’re dead!”
He was right to blame me … and Twitter.
Now, I wouldn’t advise doing this to just any old professor. This was a good friend of mine and I knew he would appreciate a Gude joke. The day before class I had tweeted my students a couple of times encouraging them to commit these outrageous acts whenever my friend spoke a certain word.
Now why would I do such a mean thing? Usually, when a class has a substitute teacher, students just ditch it. Or if they do come to class, they ignore the speaker and spend their time on Facebook. But this little joke caused them to not only attend class (who wouldn’t want to miss the fun?) but also to listen intently to every single word the speaker said. Mission accomplished: class was packed and they did well on the quiz I gave later on the material.
More and more students have Twitter accounts now. Four years ago very few of them did and I would have to force them kicking and screaming to sign up (something they were always grateful for by semester’s end).
Five (other) ways I use Twitter in my lecture classes:
Full Text: Karl Gude: Five Reasons Why Twitter Is Amazing In Large Lecture Classes.