Tuesday, July 21, 2009

"Tech-free classrooms"

A study published in the April issue of British Educational Research Journal found that 59 percent of students in a new survey reported that at least half of their lectures were boring, and that PowerPoint was one of the dullest methods they saw. . . .

Students in the survey gave low marks not just to PowerPoint, but also to all kinds of computer-assisted classroom activities, even interactive exercises in computer labs. "The least boring teaching methods were found to be seminars, practical sessions, and group discussions," said the report. In other words, tech-free classrooms were the most engaging.
From a piece by Jeffrey R. Young on the role of technology in college classrooms. Read it all:

When Computers Leave Classrooms, So Does Boredom (Chronicle of Higher Education)

comments: 7

JuliaR said...

I'm not surprised by this. And I have always (for years) hated PowerPoint presentations. I've had to do them but I don't like them.

Michael Leddy said...

The only PowerPoint presentation I'd like to do would be PowerPoint Karaoke.

JuliaR said...

OMG this is terrific! I have never heard of PP Karaoke!

"But it is part of a robust tradition in the geek world: the mordant parody of business culture."
"Its critics liken it to a Procrustean bed for ideas, one that dilutes real passion and innovation into an endless stream of bullet points."

I even had to go look up Procrustean! I love articles that make me look up words.

"Producing or designed to produce strict conformity by ruthless or arbitrary means.
[After Procrustes, a mythical Greek giant who stretched or shortened captives to make them fit his beds]"

NathanKP said...

I think that most instructors don't know how to use Powerpoint constructively. For some instructors Powerpoint is a way of sitting up there and droning on and on while the slideshow plays.

But as a college student I have had instructors who made the proper use of Powerpoint slideshows, using it as supplemental material to an engaging and fascinating lecture.

The bottom line is: if the lecture was boring anyway the slides are also going to boring. But if the instructor is a good lecturer then they will be able to make slides interesting as well.

Slides aren't a replacement for lectures.

Michael Leddy said...

Last fall, some college freshmen told me that except for English comp, every class they were taking was a PowerPoint demonstration. Their job was to write down what was on the screen.

I do like showing film clips and images and playing music as appropriate, to supplement what I hope are livelier goings-on.

NathanKP said...

It sounds like you are one of those much better than average instructors that knows how to deliver an interesting and engaging lecture. ;)

Michael Leddy said...

I hope so! I prefer to lead discussion, but that doesn't always happen.