Written by: Emilia Marcyk
Primary Source: Information Literacy Resources
The following article came up in my Facebook feed recently (you’ll see why that’s ironic if you read the article): “Why I Just Asked My Students to Put Their Laptops Away” by Clay Shirky. Shirky draws on research to justify his recent decision to ask students to be device-free (including laptops) during class, unless explicitly asked. I was especially intrigued by the idea that distracting technology use during class affects not only the retention of the student using the technology, but those around him or her as well. This “second-hand smoke” effect was a large part of the reason Shirky finally decided to ban technology all together. Not that he blames students for being distracted; he asserts that social media is designed precisely to attract our attention on an almost biological level.
However, I wonder about this policy’s applicability to the kind of instruction we do in the library. Unlike Shirky, who has the luxury of building relationships with his students over the course of the semester, we often have less than two hours to develop rapport with students and hopefully make a good enough impression that they will be willing to return to the library on their own. Would the goodwill lost enforcing a technology ban outweigh the potential benefits of increased focus from students? Shirky’s piece will no doubt spark strong feelings from people on both sides of the issue.
Latest posts by Emilia Marcyk (see all)
- An interview with Mary-Ann Winkelmes - September 3, 2015
- Books Mentioned at LOEX 2015 - May 5, 2015
- Info Lit Summit 2015: What’s the Big Idea?! Incorporating Threshold Concepts into Your Teaching Practice - April 13, 2015