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We all remember back in middle school when taking notes meant copying off the chalkboard. Then technology advanced and we started copying off the projector, then the smart board. All this really meant was that we just had to copy notes as fast as our teacher could write them.

Jim Jansen, a Professor of the College of Information Sciences and Technology at Pennsylvania State University, said, “When the television was introduced into the classroom, it helped because we could show videos in the classroom now.”

Now we’re in college and the technology has advanced to the point where professors all have pre-written notes on PowerPoint slides that they’ve memorized after years of teaching the same material.

“Technology is a tool,” Jansen said. “The professor has a lot to do with it, the subject matter has a lot to do with it, and the students have a role in this.”

If you’re like me, you don’t want to drag your 15-inch, 5-and-a-half-pound laptop around campus all day. Some of us stay old school and still use a pen and notebook to take our notes. Now, instead of just keeping up as fast as the teacher can write, it’s keeping up with as fast as the professor can read his or her notes.

We now have to try and copy down what’s on the screen and listen to what the professor’s saying about the prewritten notes. While we’re listening and writing, we have to process whatever the professor is saying and try to decide what’s important enough to write down, while still trying to make sure we get it all down on paper before he or she puts up the next slide.

However, not everyone is like me. Many people are now bringing their laptops and iPads to class and abusing the technology available. These people have already downloaded the professors slides, and come to class just for the participation points.

This can be a big distraction, not only to those on Facebook, but also to those around the one on the Internet.

Jansen said it really depends on the material being discussed in the classroom.

“When I give a class, my lectures are usually short, so I need students’ undivided attention during that time,” Jansen said. “But they’re adults and can make their own decisions.”

Have an opinion on this? Leave us a comment and let us know what you think. 


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Senior > Print Journalism > Penn State

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