In an article in The Ann Arbor News (pointed out by Ken Varnum), Dave Gershman questions whether allowing wireless Internet access in classrooms is productive. While I see both sides of the argument (students should pay attention and we are paying attention, we just need to do more than one thing at once), the best thing to take away from this article (in my opinion) is this:
Ben van der Pluijm, a professor of geology and the environment, said he can’t worry whether his students are surfing the Web. “I only tell them not to be obnoxious about it,” he said. Van der Pluijm said the key is to use the technology to engage students, and he believes it enhances his lectures.
He co-wrote software called Lecture Tools that allows him to send lecture slides of charts and data directly to students’ computers. Students can take notes online and constantly update them.
Most of his students bring their laptop computers to class. In a recent class, van der Pluijm stood on stage in front of a big projection screen. Most of his students followed along, switching between watching him and their computer screens, where they flipped among the slides of his electronic presentation.
Instead of complaining about “kids these days” he developed an application that would meet everyone’s needs! How awesome is that?? This would have totally stopped me from day dreaming when I was in class (back when the Internet required wires).