According to Inside Higher Ed, an Ohio State professor decided that he would ban all electronics from his classes and isn’t facing backlash for his decision. Trevon Logan, a professor of economics at Ohio State, posted on Twitter about this decision and noticed positive results.
This Spring semester I was moved by the @nytimes open by @dynarski to enact a technology ban in my courses. No laptops, tablets, phones, nothing. I was curious to see what would happen. Now the results are now in!
— Trevon D Logan (@TrevonDLogan) May 9, 2018
“I thought I would get much more pushback on this from students, and I didn’t think student outcomes would be so significant,” Logan said in a Twitter thread. “Given these results, I’m very encouraged to continue with the policy.”
Students’ performance in the class improved and 25% percent mentioned the policy in a positive light in the end of year course evaluations. Logan said that an op-ed written by Susan Dynarski inspired him to make this change. The op-ed critiques the use of laptops in classrooms and meetings.
The debate on whether technology should be allowed in classmates has continued for quite some time. An argument for allowing students to have devices is that not allowing them could disadvantage students with disabilities. However, Logan addresses this by allowing students to email him, asking for an exception to this rule. To this day, no students have requested an exception.
Another professor, Darren Rosenblum, who teaches at the Elizabeth Haub School of Law at Pace University, has not received positive reactions. Students who complained stated that they were used to taking notes on their computer or that they have atrocious handwriting. Rosenblum responded to students by saying that lawyers need to be able to take good notes and that screens are often more distracting than helpful.
Logan said that the classroom climate has improved greatly and that students interact more without technology, which is important because communication is a skill that many employers seek out in potential employees. He says that in order to ensure that this policy will work, professors should introduce this policy early and enforce it, even calling out students if necessary: “Stop midsentence and call them out.”
Only time will tell if this trend continues to build momentum in higher ed, secondary schools, and workplaces as technology permeates our culture.
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