The Real Face-Book (Affirmative Post Week 4)


The purpose of this blog is to espouse the virtues of a non-erasure of traditional teaching methods and tools. Today, I am extending that statement to cover the physical presence of the very teachers themselves. I sincerely believe that the teachers and their physical face-to-face presence in the room alongside their students is one more notch in favor of traditional methods.

Two articles, Face-to-Face Training Still the Better Choice Over Digital Lessons and The value of analogue educational tools in a digital environment, written by Salah Banna and Andrew Murray respectively, provide support for the idea that students perform better in an environment where the teacher has presence and prominence, if not outright precedence. There is “…the fundamental reality that humans are social beings” (Banna), and the educational system should reflect that with a notable role maintained for the instructor(s) of a course. How this ties into education and our blog’s stated mission is with the inevitable — if potentially fluctuating in prominence — presence of modern technology in the classroom; the presence of digital tools/methods can be a barrier to the inherent humanity that emanates from real people and which can enhance the curriculum of a course.

Murray’s article alludes to the concepts of soft and hard determinism in regards to technology and its human creators; that is to say, Murray’s article alludes to the idea that technology will gradually become “…[an] advance of technology [that] leads to a situation of inescapable necessity” (Murray). The concept of technological determinism seems inevitable, and it is perhaps exactly for that reason that it should be delayed at all costs, in the name of keeping teachers employed and present to provide tangible wisdom and interaction to their students. As Murray states toward the end of his article, “in the rush to embrace the new we must not forget the value of established educational tools and techniques” (Murray). Teachers are not “tools” per se, but they are certainly established and valuable.


Technology vs. Books (Affirmative 3)


Reading physical books has more benefits than using technology to read which has many potential problems.

Reading books is the traditional way to learn and be entertained. Reading a book does not have the major risks that can be associated when electronics and technology is involved. The benefits of reading are greater in number and are healthier than reading constantly on the internet or some technology.

Some benefits of reading books are as follows:

  • Greater retention of information
  • Less stress when reading
  • No information overload
  • No distractions on the page that is being read
  • No risk of hacking or any other type of data breach/malware
  • Unlikely for someone to steal a textbook
  • Less strain on eyes

Books have cons from being too heavy to carry or being limited regarding information but the benefits of being relaxed, not having an information overload, no distractions on the pages and other benefits listed and not listed above.

Technology allows for anyone to have tons of information at their fingertips within a second of time and with little effort, but no one can process thousands or millions of pages of information in little time. Technology provides easy use in finding information and sharing knowledge but just the attempt of thinking of how much information is related to a certain topic is insurmountable (information overload). Not relating to information overload a current hot topic is hacking, the spread of malware/viruses and other malicious programs as these subjects only relate to electronics and technology. Technology has the risk of malfunctioning on its own or by human intent and error. Also, something to add is that technology and electronics have a battery that does not last forever and for electronics that need a plug well you still need electricity to use the technology. Using technology (tablets, computers, etc.) for a prolonged time can create health problems to the user. Some health problems include eye strain and other eye problems, neck problems, shoulder problems, carpool tunnel and other problems.

Going back to books well there are no batteries, no direct use of electricity (sometimes a light is needed to read if the environment the reader is in is too dark), no risk of a hacker or malfunctioning and there is almost no chance in the reader having information overload. Books also are less likely to cause any type of health problem to the reader.

Your choice—Books that provide many benefits—or—Technology that is easy to use but has many major risks, problems, and can impact your health negatively.

Reading books is just the better choice.


Laptops Out, Notebooks In (Affirmative 2)

As convenient as it is to get your notebook out during lecture time and put your Mavis Beacon skills to the test, you’re better off writing your notes by hand. It’s already clear how distracting electronics can be. Not only that, it’s been proven that taking notes on your laptop affects learning.

Pam A. Mueller of Princeton University and Daniel M. Oppenheimer of the University of California, Los Angeles published a study that proves the slower you take your notes (by hand), the more you remember. So instead of thinking your typing skills of 80 wpm are effective, it’s time to slow down.

Mueller said to NPR that “when people type their notes, they have this tendency to try to take verbatim notes and write down as much of the lecture as they can. The students who were taking longhand notes in our studies were forced to be more selective — because you can’t write as fast as you can type. And that extra processing of the material that they were doing benefited them.” An idea mentioned in their findings is the hypothesis of encoding. This is when a person is note taking, “the processing that occurs” will improve learning and retention.

An experiment was done where students were shown a TED Talk and were supposed to take notes. Although the students who took notes their laptops had more information than the notebook students, when tested over the material it was the notebooks students who recalled more information. Mueller and Oppenheimer state that “this is suggestive evidence that longhand notes may have superior external storage as well as superior encoding functions”.

The most important thing in school is to learn. By taking notes by hand, you are increasing your ability to learn which leads to success. This is why classic learning tools are so important.


Motivate Students to Balance Electronics Use (Affirmative 1)

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According to NBC news, two studies confirmed the excessive use of electronics affects students negatively. One study found, that students who are exposed by technology score 20% lower on standard cognition tests. The second study demonstrates that the students who are exposed to more technology, cannot concentrate on homework for more than two minutes without distracting themselves with social media or email.

Using electronics in a classroom is the new look for education. However some students do not want to completely have their education purely based on electronics, but in today’s world technology in education is the latest fashion and current trend. It also becomes a distraction.

These days, schools let the students use Chrome Books starting in pre-school. Specifically, private schools do this to appeal more to the people with an interest in private schooling. This is a marketing tool. What do parents buy for their son’s/daughter’s first birthday? So, instead of kids reading books or playing with toys, they are more likely to become addicted to their gadgets. This could lead to recess becoming 30 minute free time to play their Fruit Ninja app game or even go on Twitter versus playtime outside.

Every day and all day we live with our gadgets. It causes more distractions than before, not only in the class room but during family dinner, homework, when you are driving your car and most other places. 

A professor at California State University-Dominguez Hills, Larry Rosen, published a study in the May issue of Computers in Human Behavior that made attempt to calculate how often students of all ages are distracted by technology when they study. The results were dismal. What was found was that students knowingly being observed on their normal study environments still could not resist texting or going on Twitter, Facebook, etc. This happened 2 minutes into the 15 minutes observation time.

Electronic gadgets affect students negatively most of the time. To afford negative use, it’s best to just use electronic devices for leisure, instead of school use. This avoids unnecessary distractions. It is helpful there are apps to turn off electronics after a certain time of night or after excessive use. Parents can use these for their children. As for the young adults, we have to be able to maintain a balance ourselves. A balance that is with the use of electronics with real world activities. Otherwise, the world will be a disaster when technology fails! Keep Balance!