Technological invasion gets mixed reactions

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With the rapid increase of quality in technology and the demand students have for it, professors and instructors at PCC have slowly become more tolerant of technology’s presence in the classroom. Whether it be iPhones, iPads, laptops or other electronic devices, the casual replacement of paper to instead take notes digitally in lectures has shown a rapid increase.

Jose Cortez, who teaches introduction to business management at PCC as an adjunct instructor, believes that technology could serve a very positive role in the teaching environment.

“If an instructor is dynamic and interactive in the classroom, the students will find him or her engaging,” said Cortez. “They will focus on the lecture and use the computers, phones and iPads to look up information and then become part of the lecture. I have several classes were I allow the use of technology and I take advantage of this because the students can help me to look up information.”

As technology continues its growth, the popularity of social networking such as Facebook and Twitter have also started to integrate themselves into the classroom. Katie Datko, the instructional designer for distance education at PCC, stated that more professors are starting to use technology in lectures because their students are strongly familiar with the devices and services.

“In a lot of lectures now some professors may have their students tweet during the lecture into the course,” said Datko. “There’s a real-time feedback with dialogue opening up in lecture classes, which wasn’t there before. I think that’s the greatest advantage.”

However, some instructors and professors are still very hesitant to allow the use of electronics in their classes by students. With the advantages of technology within lectures., the disadvantages follow closely behind.

For example, some teachers are afraid that by allowing students to use technology in the classroom, they can distract themselves and their fellow classmates by texting, using social networking sites, and even playing video games. Jose Bava, biology instructor, has a strict policy listed in his syllabus against cell phone usage during his lectures.

“Let me clarify also that the no cell phone use is for the time in which I am lecturing,” said Bava. “I am not against cell phone use when people are working in the lab, but I do consider the use of a cell phone (for social networking and texting) a complete lack of respect when the professor is lecturing.”

Jose Cortez takes a more flexible approach towards technology in his lectures.

“There are those classes that I do not allow any kind of technology because of the students’ lack of focus or engagement,” said Cortez. “I first analyze my class and based on that analysis, I decide if I will allow them to use their equipment or not.”

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