Should Technology Be Allowed In Lectures?

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It is highly debatable whether technology should be allowed in lectures. Students view no problem in the free usage of their phones, Ipad, kindles etc. Meanwhile, the lecturers, who have to compete with the latest gadgets for their students’ attention, would happily ban technology in class. But who is right?

Most of us are probably familiar with the old school tricks we used to play in high school – sneakily texting with your phone under the desk and hiding your earphones under your school uniform to listen to music.  I’ll hold my hands up and say I’m guilty of doing so.

Does technology help or hinder our studies at university?

Technology undeniably has its benefits and, if used properly, has great perks in lectures. We all know a lecturer who speaks too fast. You spend the hour attempting to keep up, scribbling in your pad like a maniac, and still miss important details. A laptop is the perfect solution – you can type much faster than you can write. A phone can also prove useful in lectures, for example to take pictures of diagrams and slides, instant access to the Internet and Learn or even to record the lecture. These are just a few of the many advantages for students who use technology.

However, I suspect that many students view their phones and laptops as an excellent opportunity to distract themselves, not to aid their studies. Technology is often viewed as the cure to a tedious lecture. Whether it’s to play on the latest, most addictive game (anybody not heard of Flappy Birds?!), to flirt with your new fling or to gossip with your flatmates. I have often seen laptops used as a pretence of taking notes to cover up browsing the web, checking social media accounts and playing games. I was also told about a lecture in which the majority of people were glued to their phones playing Flappy Birds, rather than listening to the lecture.

Technology undeniably aids many students, but also provides great temptations and distractions. When stuck in a boring, uninspired lecture it is too easy to turn to your phone for a fun alternative. At the end of the day, it’s your degree, your money and your choice. But it seems a shame to neglect your studies in favour of beating a high score or texting your friends. Your phone won’t stop after the 50 minutes is over. You can play your favourite game and text your friends whenever you want. But your lectures are not available on demand and you can’t press start again. A 16GB IPhone 5s will set you back £549. A year at university costs £9,000. I know which one I value more.

Rachael Milsom

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