Archive for September, 2010

I’m Not the Nicest Re: Electronic Devices

September 27, 2010

I feel like an ogre vis-á-vis my gadgets policy, so I’ll borrow someone else’s ogre-ish words for a moment.  This is from an Op-Ed that appeared recently in The New York Times featuring ‘advice for freshmen from the people who actually grade their papers and lead their class discussions:

Devices have become security blankets. Take the time to wean yourself.

Start by scheduling a few Internet-free hours each day, with your phone turned off. It’s the only way you’ll be able to read anything seriously, whether it’s Plato or Derrida on Plato. (And remember, you’ll get more out of reading Derrida on Plato if you read Plato first.) This will also have the benefit of making you harder to reach, and thus more mysterious and fascinating to new friends and acquaintances.

When you leave your room for class, leave the laptop behind. In a lecture, you’ll only waste your time and your parents’ money, disrespect your professor and annoy whomever is trying to pay attention around you by spending the whole hour on Facebook.

You don’t need a computer to take notes — good note-taking is not transcribing. All that clack, clack, clacking … you’re a student, not a court reporter. And in seminar or discussion sections, get used to being around a table with a dozen other humans, a few books and your ideas. After all, you have the rest of your life to hide behind a screen during meetings.

— CHRISTINE SMALLWOOD, Ph.D. student in English and American literature at Columbia

Below is a photograph taken during budget negotiations in the Connecticut legislature.  I believe you may be inclined to agree with me when I suggest that very few people are capable of resisting computer-based temptation.

Of course, even when we use our devices for classwork, research suggests that they can impair our learning.


Further Reading

Ballentine, Claire. 2018. ‘Could You Make It Through Dinner Without Checking Your Phone?’. New York Times, 14 July.