I read an article on Yahoo News a couple of days ago about how Wyoming Catholic College has banned the use of cell phones by students, except in cases of emergency. Access to the internet in dorms there is limited to a handful of websites. The policy has been put in place to reduce multitasking and encourage face-to-face interactions among students.
I thought about this during my “Introduction to Digital Libraries” class Thursday night, especially once I started paying attention to those with laptops or iPads out vs. those without. The people without their computers or pads out definitely interacted more in class than those who had them up and running. I must admit that I took my laptop and/or iPad with me to most classes my first year of library school. Having the technology did help with note taking, especially for those early classes where we had tests. (In my more recent classes, it’s been mostly papers and group projects.)
Maybe it’s because my eyes are a couple of years older, or that my back is a couple of years older (and yearns for a lighter backpack), but I find myself taking class notes on paper this semester. I still work on the computer at work, and do assignments, blogging, online shopping, email, and many other things on my home laptop and iPad. I must admit, though, that I’m not totally tech-free in class. My iPhone is always in my pocket, ready to add assignment changes or appointments to my Google Calendar and Remember the Milk list as soon as they come up. I could write those things down on paper, but I love the techie convenience of immediately putting things into my online calendar and to-do list.
What do you think about the use of technology in the classroom and in our lives? Has it changed how you communicate, for better or for worse? Have you ever taken a break from your cellphone, Facebook, or something else technology-related? If so, how did it go?