21st Century Lecturing

There is an interesting piece from the Digital Media + Learning website, which discusses the continued and seasonal banning of certain electronic devices in the university teaching sessions. WHY?

Isn’t technology supposed to make things easier for us or has it just made things more complicated and overwhelming? (A book on this topic by D. Levitin)

The article (I read fully) mentions how a study (I read the abstract) saw that even if you may no be using a device you are likely to be distracted by people who are. So it is fair that anyone should be using devices, should we be creating specific areas for students who want to use their gadgets? I think not, that would be impractical.

Another article I found (study) stated technology enhances the learning environment:

Researchers at Rochester Institute of Technology have found that use of a technology-rich learning environment in several undergraduate engineering-technology courses has improved learning and decreased withdrawals from, or failing grades in, the courses” (Nov. 2011)

I find this topic interesting for a few reasons but mainly because 1) clever people haven’t figured out how to incorporate students gadget-use into lectures. 2) why should students made to be feel governed this way in early adulthood?

To ban or not to ban? That is the question.

Whether it is nobler in the long-run to get rid of all electronic devices so that every student is sure to focus on your lecture content. Is that really it, is your content so riveting that an electronic device would take the attention away from a student who has paid to be in your class and actually wants to learn?

Attention …. Squirrel!

Putting attention spans and lecturing style aside for a moment – we know there are some people who take excellent notes on their lap tops – I never did, but then I like writing with a pen and paper and I can read most of my writing afterward. (secret: I actively listen to seminars if I am Tweeting about them).

BYOD – Bring Your Own Device. This acronym is used an a 2014 newspaper article discussing this same issue. Some institutions actively GIVE students devices recognising their importance for learning: “Manchester Medical School, …equips its students with iPads from years three to five“.

We’ve come a long way since chalk on black board and acetate on OHPs!

Perhaps the bigger question is more HOW to incorporate personal 21st Century electronics into lectures. What If lectures included the use of smartphones, tablets and laptops in the lecture?  Maybe it would be of some augmented benefit instead of just sticking with a lecturer who’s given the updated lecture for the past five or fifteen years.

When I was an undergrad…

I won’t say when but I’ll tell you this: USBs where only just coming in, I logged into DOS to read my email and I expected to get a handout of the PowerPoint slides from my lecturer. I was discouraged to make notes in class and told to just listen. That didn’t work for me, I got easily distracted, usually by something the lecturer said, getting stuck in the mud and completely lost. Of course not all my lecturers where like that although there were trends a

There is more and more pressure for lecturers to make their students do well so they in turn do better at their job, making the institution look better.

Do you incorporate any multi-media or technology in your teaching rooms?

The Future of Lectures (and grading)

The presentation (inserted below) by John BOyer (who’s a little ‘much’ at times) actually uses technology and grading really well. It’s quite an intense lecture but he does grab your attention in every way he can… and his method works. His method of teaching takes effort to set up but then it’s all down to the students, who at all times know their grades and how well they are doing on the course.

John “the Plaid Avenger” Boyer (2014)


External resources

Ten Way To Make Lectures More Dynamic – a page from the BBC Active website



About Dr Jojo Scoble

Freelance Science Communicator. Microbiology PhD Oxon. Fiction Writer. Social Media dilettante. Ideas Factory.
This entry was posted in academia, blogging, lecturing, teaching and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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