Students have been back in school for weeks, but back to school sales are still going strong. School-goers have developed a strong attachment to technology but is it justified? When Fanshawe students were asked how they felt they would do without technology their responses varied from “I take handwritten notes” to “ I think I’d fail without my laptop.” Fanshawe Economics Professor Darren Chapman was asked about his feelings on technology in the classroom, and he stated that he simply does not allow it. “When a student pulls out their smartphone I lose them for about 40 minutes. 20 minutes to reading the text, replying, putting the phone away, and getting back into the school mindset and tuning in. In the time that they were not paying attention, I have progressed 20 minutes. In an hour class, they might as well stay home.” With Mac laptops featuring the iMessage app, many students have the ability to text through their laptop, providing another distraction.
Western PHD student in Media, Information, Technoculture, Kristen Colbeck believes that although technology can serve as a major distraction, it is also a requirement for many jobs to be proficient in certain types of software. Kristen stated that many older generations don’t understand how profoundly the education system has changed in the last few decades. “I think to tell someone to write their notes and read a book is not entirely feasible.” Many times professors set deadlines with the assumption that all classmates will have access to technology and can get to the answers quite quickly.
Darren Chapman believes that that is precisely the problem. “We are teaching our students how to come up with answers, give the bottom line, think fast, when really, automation could easily take any job from us that was reliant upon those skills. In order to take advantage of your learning, you must engage on a deeper level. You must learn how to unravel, how to ask questions… that is what’s going to get you a job. That’s what’s going to make you successful.”
The best thing for your school career is to have a laptop to check online forums, keep up to date on emails and submissions, but to not let it distract you during class. If you were struggling and were in need of a laptop do to academic requirements, you can reach out to your academic advisor.
Laptops can be rented from Library Media Loans for up to five hours a day, once every 24 hours. Students are unable to download programs to the laptops, but there are many computer labs that have specialized equipment and are open 24 hours.