Sorry pen and paper, your golden age has come to an abrupt end. Taking notes is just faster with a computer, and researching and writing papers can be done simultaneously. The only trouble is computers can be a real problem for college professors.
Professors often find themselves vying for the attention of students engrossed in their computers during class time. Facebook chatting, playing games, watching silly video clips, or emailing, is normal behavior I’ve noticed while in college. I don’t think it’s fair to the college professors to lecture to a dead audience though, so I’m going to spill the beans. I’ll reveal some tricks that will help you know what your class is really up to.
Many times it’s quiet obvious when students aren’t paying attention. You can almost predict whether they will be listening or not depending on the class and the hour. If you teach an early morning class or a difficult subject, you will have a much harder time keeping an attentive audience. Also, if you don’t have strict computer policies, you are more likely to have students using their computers for other purposes.
Now, for the actual giveaways. When students giggle even though you’ve said nothing funny, have glazed eyes, click a lot, or keep up a constant stream of typing when no one else in the class is typing, they’re probably using their computers for other purposes. Also, little or no eye contact and expressions of frustration can be indicators of gaming. For those of you with Mac users in the class don’t let them trick you. Macs have a setting called hot corners that allow the user to position the mouse in one of the four corners of the screen and they serve as shortcuts. One setting enables everything pulled up, all documents, chats, or online screens to disappear, another allows the computer to go to sleep. Many college students will use these features when they see their professor coming. It only takes one second so Mac users are very hard to catch red-handed. The trick with the first setting is that as soon as you place the mouse back in that corner, all the things that disappeared will instantly reappear. In the case of sending the computer to sleep, if you’re fast enough, it won’t have time to go completely to sleep. Of course you’ll have to figure out which corner to go to, since the students can set up their own computers differently, but you should be able to figure it out.
Hopefully your students won’t get the best of you now. Speaking of letting people get the best of you, technology doesn’t have to be something you see in a negative light. As a matter of fact, technology can help you. Take home security systems for instance. Installing a security monitoring system can keep your home safe and prevent burglars from taking advantage of you.