Technology and Distracted Students: A Modest Proposal

A few days ago, news broke in the higher-ed sphere about a new paper in the Educational Psychology Review, “How Much Mightier Is the Pen Than the Keyboard for Note-Taking? A Replication and Extension of Mueller and Oppenheimer (2014),” which seemed to undercut a study that’s become the go-to for those in favor of unilateral technology bans in the college classroom. The Mueller and Oppenheimer paper  purported to show students who took class notes in longhand performed better[1] than those who used laptops. But this new paper–authored by Kayla Morehead, John Dunlosky, and Katherine A. Rawson–could not replicate those findings, even when they extended the study to students who used other devices or those who took no notes at all. There were no statistically-significant differences in test scores among these groups, the authors point out, which means “concluding which method is superior for improving the functions of note-taking seems premature.” Continue reading “Technology and Distracted Students: A Modest Proposal”

  1. [1] Mueller and Oppenheimer defined “perform better” as higher test scores.

I’ve Got a Serious Problem with “Serious Academics.”

Earlier today, a robust debate emerged around an article in the “Academics Anonymous” section of The Guardian‘s “Higher Education Network” and its sweeping denunciation of social media in academe. With the charming title “I’m a Serious Academic, Not a Professional Instagrammer,” the author takes pains to tell us they are a PhD student and not “some cranky old professor harking back to the Good Old Days” before deploying every trope in the cranky old professor playbook. Lament the current “selfie culture?” Check. Decry people “too busy checking their phones to look up and appreciate their surroundings?” Check. Complain about people tweeting at conferences rather than honoring the speaker with their full attention? Check. Repeated earnest declarations of “seriousness?” Oh, boy, you got it. I AM A SERIOUS PERSON DOING SERIOUS THINGS. SMART THINGS. TOO SMART FOR YOUR INSTAGRAM FRIVOLITIES. Continue reading “I’ve Got a Serious Problem with “Serious Academics.””

Every NYT Higher-Ed Thinkpiece Ever Written

Higher Education is in a Crisis. A deep, dark, existential crisis which can only be blamed on its resistance to innovative disruption and its abandonment of cherished liberal arts principles. You might think that assertion is paradoxical, that it’s merely a buzzword-laden lede for academic clickbait, but you would be wrong. The humanities are dying. And the only way forward is to go back.

Continue reading “Every NYT Higher-Ed Thinkpiece Ever Written”