Using technology in the classroom carries the potential to generate great results but some professors across the country share very different thoughts about its place in lectures and note taking.

Even here at Pacific, professors share different beliefs as to how laptops, phones and tablets can shape the educational experience of both students and teachers during class time.

“Having access to technology in the classroom is wonderful,” said Political Science Professor Jeffrey Seward. “I love being able to, in the spur of the moment, look up a great YouTube video, great Jon Stewart video or look up data related to the class discussion.”

There are, however, drawbacks to having these sorts of devices in the classroom.

“Technology distracts us from thinking deeply,” Political Science Professor Jules Boykoff.

He continued, stating that technology has ushered in a browsing culture, which can develop important skills, but can also undercut discussion in the classroom when he hears beeps or pings from students’ phones.

While there are most certainly other benefits to these devices, like students not having to lug around stacks of paper, or looking things up quickly on e-reserves, many professors share the growing concern that it becomes easy for students to get distracted from the lecture at hand. Some courses, however, involve heavy use of hardware and software.

“I see technology as a tool that can empower students to find information, to allow them to work within their own learning style,” said Media Arts Professor Mike Geraci.

Ten years ago not everyone brought a computer to campus, but now it’s almost completely unheard of that students do not have a portable computer at their disposal.

“I think all universities are going to have to have a plan for adapting to the effects of technology,” Geraci said. “Right now, we expect students to come into a classroom and take notes, but we, as educators, need to start adapting to how students want to learn.”

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