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Let’s accept technology in classroom

October 16, 2011
ADELLE?WHITEFOOT , The Mining Journal

This semester I am taking a literature class where - at least in the the beginning - I was allowed to use a Kindle to read the required books. But I had to fight to get even that allowed.

My professor for this class doesn't allow computers or any device that may have Internet access in his classroom.

After doing research on the Kindle, he found that this e-reader tablet had Internet access and that it's difficult to make in text annotations on a Kindle. So of course, at first he said "no" because he didn't want me checking my email on it every 20 seconds during class.

Anyone who has a Kindle knows that's impossible. The Kindle's Internet capability merely allows it to download publications.

So I argued my points about the Internet and the in-text annotations and I was, surprisingly, allowed to use it.

After I'd used my Kindle for nine weeks, my professor decided that it was distracting me and said I was no longer allowed to use it in class. This upset me, of course. His reason, basically, was that I was paying too much attention to it.

I can assure that I was not - he thought otherwise.

Even though I defended myself and gave him the facts about what happened, I was still not allowed to use it.

This was not my first run-in with a professor over technology. It wasn't the first time a professor appeared to be afraid of technology instead of ready to take advantage of it.

Many Northern Michigan University professors don't allow students to have a computer in the classroom to take notes. This forces them to do it by hand. I've had many of these professors.

Once I had a professor who would let us have computers in class for notetaking - but only if we signed a paper saying we wouldn't use our computers for Facebook or anything else but notetaking. We were told that if we were caught using it for other things we would be kicked out of the class for the rest of the semester.

Every NMU student has a computer thanks to the university's wonderful laptop program. I think more professors should take advantage of the technology instead of dismissing it altogether.

Editor's note: Northern Michigan University student and Mining Journal Staff Writer Adelle Whitefoot can be reached at 906-228-2500. Her email address is



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