Editorial: Professors in Dark Ages need to see light

TechnophobeComicIt seems Baylor is in a place of being half in the technology world and half out, because many students bring the technology to class and some professors bring the dark of ages past.

Some professors do well with using technology in the classroom such as the projector, response cards and slideshow presentations.

Unfortunately, there are many Baylor professors who do not allow the use of laptops, tablets or cellphones in their classrooms, and it’s true the professors have the right to decide what is and isn’t allowed in their class.

They deem these devices “distractions.” Some professors even threaten to count students absent if they use their devices in class.

Claiming these devices are too distracting, however, might not be enough of an excuse to ban them anymore.

Students use these devices daily outside of the classroom, so it only makes sense that they are allowed to use them to take notes, read the textbook online or for other classroom activities.

It’s true students learn in different ways. What works for one student may not work for another when it comes to studying for a test. This being said, students should have the option of bringing their devices to class if they need them to do well.

Professors who ban the use of these devices in classrooms may be inhibiting the productivity of some of their students.

Trust is a main issue when it comes to allowing technology in classrooms. Professors tend to think students will only surf the Web if their computers are allowed.

We are paying to attend Baylor so we shouldn’t have problem with wanting to do well. If we allow ourselves to be distracted by our own technology, shame on us. We’re wasting our time and money if we do that.

Some students may be distracted by other students with their technology. Because of this, the students with laptops should sit in the back of the classroom so that other students will not be distracted.

In addition to allowing students to have these devices in class, professors should make use of the technology available to them.

They may not want to learn a new technology, but the teaching isn’t about them. It’s about the students.

Therefore, they should teach using whatever tools are necessary to help their students learn. These tools could range from using interactive technology like the response cards to having discussion boards online.

There may be some professors who will scoff at this idea. They’ll think this will never work. They might remember how college classrooms worked when they were in school. They may consider this a tradition — college classrooms aren’t a place for teachers to play with silly devices.

Gone are the days when professors can lecture and expect the best from students. Most college students have grown up learning from computers and cellphones anyway.

Benjamin Franklin said, “Being ignorant is not so much a shame, as being unwilling to learn.”

The students who come to Baylor are presumably here to learn. If we’re willing to learn, it only makes sense that professors be willing to teach in a way that helps us.

So professors, be creative. Be innovative. For those professors who have incorporated technology into their lessons, we thank you. For those professors who have not, we ask that you try — you may be surprised at what new techniques you can learn.

As Xun Kuang, a Chinese Confucian philosopher who lived from 312-230 B.C., once wrote, “Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”

Professors, involve your students and let them be involved. They will learn.