Our View: In-class technology use

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Balancing technology use and paying attention during class time is a challenge to students.

Proper technology use comes down to three main things: knowing the teacher’s technology policy, self-discipline and using technology for good.

A handful of teachers are frustrated by the thought of a student using technology during their presentation. They cringe at the vibration of a device. They lose confidence in a student’s academic performance as soon as the student engages in activity on a device.

On the other end of the spectrum, some teachers like students to use technology. Some teachers encourage students to post to social media about what is happening in class. Other teachers base their curriculum online through a blog or website and encourage students to pull the curriculum up on their device.

So, make yourself aware of the teacher’s technology policy.

Even if the teacher is OK with technology use during class, students still need to practice basic technology etiquette. Make sure that if you decide to use technology that you do so in a respectful manner, and that using technology is increasing your success, not diminishing it.  

First, don’t be distracting.

Being engrossed in technology can cause you to become unaware of the people around you, making it hard to notice if you are distracting them. In an effort to avoid distracting those around you, ask them prior to class starting if you using technology will distract them.

 Second, don’t be disrespectful. 

Teachers put in valuable time to prepare lessons. Zoning into whatever is happening on your screen shows a lack of respect for the teacher’s hard work.

Third, don’t be a technology addict. 

Consider why you are using technology in class or why you even feel like you have to. Are you taking notes on the lecture topic? Are you live tweeting about how excited you are for lunch at B-Dubs? Or, are you just aimlessly absorbed in whatever comes across your screen because you are addicted? 

Addiction happens when an individual becomes physically or mentally dependent on something, in this case, technology. If you are obsessing over using technology and feel uncomfortable when you can’t, you may want to consider if you are addicted.

Removing technology entirely is one way to break an addiction. Separating yourself from technology could completely change your life for the better.

For separation from technology to be possible, we can’t expect to be able to get a hold of each other every minute of every day. There are valid reasons for people to not answer their phones, to not immediately reply to an email and to not instantly love our Instagram photo; we need to realize this and allow for it.

Technology is a useful resource for everyone who chooses to use it effectively. Typing notes is easier than handwriting them. Searching the definition of a word online is faster than searching a dictionary. When the useful resources of technology are used in education, an individual’s productivity increases.

There is a negative connotation about using technology during class. Teachers and students need to work together to remove this connotation. Teachers need to become aware of what students are using technology for rather than assuming. Students need to practice self-discipline and use technology in a productive manner.

Something for each of us to keep in mind is this: The current state of technology use is pitiful. The potential for technology use is colossal. Use technology effectively.