Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Revisiting in-class technology use policies

We've reflected often here at ISW about the challenges of technology and pedagogy, both for we instructors and for our students. One of the stickiest issues, of course, is students using their 'devices' in class. I'd be interested to hear an update on what your policy is on cell phones, laptops, etc.

My policy statement from my syllabus is below the fold. You'll note it's not really a policy — more of a statement of principle and an indication of the issue's seriousness. Feedback welcome!

A note on in-class technology use

Technology, particularly mobile technology, is a ubiquitous feature of our lives. I have no objection to your using laptops, tablets, e-readers, smartphones, etc., to perform class-related tasks during our class meetings. However, their use for other purposes is distracting to me and to other students. In addition, while I am teaching, helping you to learn is the most important thing I am doing. Consequently, I expect that during our class meetings, learning is the most important thing for you as well. If it is not, I would appreciate your leaving the classroom. I may contact you if I have evidence that you are using technology in class in ways that inhibit your learning or the learning of others.


  1. I like it, although I might like to see some foreshadowing of the conversation that would ensue upon contacting the student.

  2. I don't remember where I saw this policy, but I recall someone telling their students that if you use a laptop you must make a copy of your notes and distribute it to the rest of the class. This applies only to those students who choose to use a laptop.


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