Sunday, May 04, 2008

Policing Law Students?

I read an article today in eSchoolNews that gave me pause.
University of Chicago Law School officials have a simple message for their students: less web surfing, more listening. The school announced April 11 that the distractions afforded by wireless internet access no longer will be available during class time, although laptops still will be permitted for note taking.

The article goes on to say, many students do not care one way or the other that access is removed. Could these students be the ones that were taught the correct classroom etiquette while in Kindergarten? the ones who have not replaced their drive to learn with a drive to play?. Just the last few weeks, I have had several conversations on how playing "big brother" at the K-12 level will empower our students to make the correct decisions on web usage. (thanks to the post by Will Richardson, Control vs. Self Control) I have the premise that if a class is interesting enough, the students will be attentive - is this bogus? even at the Law school level?

"We need to think of internet business as inappropriate in the classroom, much as everyone recognizes the need to shut off cell phones and to refrain from ostentatious newspaper reading in class or at business meetings or at Thanksgiving dinner," Saul Levmore, dean of the school, wrote. I wonder why the students not think this way? I also wonder how blocking their access force them to change?

One of the comments expressed my thoughts on a better solution:
Perhaps the university should promote more student centered learning that focuses on collaboration, team building, research, critical thinking rather than teacher directed lecture and note taking. This is the 21st Century and technology should be a given in classrooms.

What do you think?

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