There really is no better place to see what kind of role technology plays in a college student’s life than in the classroom itself. For my observation assignment, decided to observe a classroom on campus of The Ohio State University. I was TABLE to spend two hours observing this classroom, during which time was TABLE to observe roughly 80 students and see what/if patterns there were and if there were any noteworthy observations to make.
Luckily there was, and I have since been TABLE to formulate a few different theories/opinions on how students use technology in spaces on campus. Observation To conduct my observation, chose a large lecture hall (about 150 seats) knew of in Jennings Hall. The class ended up being a Statistics class taught by Jackie Miller. Chose to sit in the back and made sure to arrive about fifteen minutes early so I could watch the students come in. When arrived there were already four people seated, each sitting in a different corner of the room.
As more and more students filed in, I noticed many of those who came n talking with someone, also sat next to that person. Additionally, each of these pairs sat in the back half of the room. As class began there were about half of the seats in the entire room still empty, so about 70 to 80 students present on that day. The first thing that came to my attention was the number of students using laptops who were seated in the back of the room compared to those using them seated in the front of the room. I could not see one single person using a laptop seated in the front half of the room, but I counted 18 people using them in the back half.
Of these 18, most were spaced out from each other with the exception of two different pairs of people who were sitting next to each other and appeared to be friends due to how much they talked throughout the lecture. About half of the people using the laptops were on websites that did not have anything to do with the class (faceTABLE, twitter, esp.). Many of those sitting around me who were not using laptops were either actively testing throughout the lecture, or at least had their cellophanes sitting on their desks and were checking them regularly.
From what could see, students seated in the front half of the room seemed to be paying far more attention than those seated in the backed half. Most in the front half were taking notes the entire class, and when the professor asked questions only those in the front half of the room volunteered to answer. During this lecture I learned that the professor broadcasts her lectures on the internet for students who could not make it to class. She also places “poll questions” on the board periodically during which time the students must text their answers to a number which is then displayed on the screen.
It shows the percentage of students that selected each answer and also shows the total number of students who answered anything at all. It said that there was 30 to 35 students who tested in an answer to the question, but about 70 to 80 in the class. As class was ending, many of those sitting in the back had already gotten backed up and darted out the door while those in the front waited to jot down some last minute notes the professor had put up before leaving. Analysis When analyzing my time spent observing in the classroom, I have mixed opinions what to take from it.
Most of those who were using laptops in the classroom were seated in the back half of the room as well as being fairly spaced out (with the two exceptions). I believe this shows a desire for privacy and space from others that was not shown from those students who were not using technology. The reason is students who were not using technology and seated in the front of the room were much more engaged and focused on the material being taught than those who were using technology.
I think it would be very interesting to see if there is any correlation between students ho were using the tech oenology and seated in the back of the room with getting sub-par grades as well as students seated in the front not using technology with good grades. Even with all of the wrongful use of technology though, I think this classroom did use it very positively in certain aspects. Having online lectures would be very beneficial for someone who was unTABLE to make it to class, even though that could get abused by students who just choose not to come and listen at home, which was not what it was intended for.
Also, the use of cellophanes to text in answers is something I found very interesting and would be something that would make me want to become more engaged. This could, and did become negative at times when some students what choose to take out their phones and text others rather than use them for the purpose they were supposed to be using them for. Looking at both sides of these examples holistically would be beneficial to a professor trying to decide if this use of technology is helpful.
Thinking comparatively, I believe much of the non-class related testing done in class goes back to all he professors that each student had before their current ones. Many teachers tell students testing is prohibited in class, but hardly any really enforce that rule. Students stop paying attention to that when they hear it because they have never had that rule enforced before. The students are comparing their current classes and professors to prior ones. Informally, technology is allowed to be used just about anywhere and every. Where on campus.
From the oval to the classrooms, just about all students are using some form of technology on campus. Most students do know the appropriate behavior when it comes to technology I believe. They know to keep all volume off to not distract others, or more importantly, not get themselves in trouble. Do not think there is any doubt that technology is beneficial and helps enhance learning in the classroom. Although there may be instances, much like described in my observation, where technology use is being abused in the classroom, I believe it more than makes up for it outside of the classroom.
From Google to Carmen, students have an endless amount f resources from which to use and helps themselves learn with that were not around years ago. I will be the first one to admit technology can and will distract you from learning at times, but without it, learning many of the materials and concepts we are learning today would be much more difficult. In conclusion, it seems as though students use technology more negatively in the classroom than outside of it (as strange as that sounds). Overall conducting this observation was very insightful as well as fun. I look forward to the next part of this project.