Sep 5, 2007
Fall 2007 classes begin today at Fordham University, where I teach. I have a big Intro to Mass Media course, which I teach every term, and I’m looking forward to igniting at 1:30pm...
I have a policy - which I’m pretty relaxed about, as I am about
most rules - about cell phones and laptops in my classroom.
In general, I discourage students from talking or texting on their
cell phones during class. Talking, of course, can distract
the rare student who wants to hear my lecture. But even
texting has its problems - let's say I ask a question, and someone
texts a student from last term for the answer?
But laptops are ok. Yeah, I know students IM on them, but the laptops at least provide the possibility of looking something up - an encyclopedia or library on the go - and that’s fine with me, even during one of my lectures.
But ... what should I do about iPhones? I have no idea how many students will have them today, but it’s a sure bet that more and more students will have iPhones in the future. The iPhone, obviously, is a cell phone and web browser (and an iPod).
I’m going to err on the side of open systems. I already encourage my students to read blogs, listen to podcasts, watch videos on YouTube - it's written into the Intro to Media curriculum. If my students want to use their iPhones as cell phones, and have conversations with friends during the class, so be it. But on the chance that they’ll be using the iPhone to locate some bit of fascinating, pertinent knowledge on the Web - hey, that’s all to the good.
Of course, I will draw the line during our open book exams…