A Call For Upstate Professors to “Step-Up”
Over the past few years here at Upstate, plans have been made and programs have been put into place to ensure classrooms are up-to-date with the advancing times. With these new installments to our university underway, why is it that some professors still have a hard time with device use in their classrooms? Why can’t students use their devices in those classrooms?
The main program put into place to promote the technological age was the Step-Up program. The purpose of the Step-Up program was to encourage the use of technology and devices such as laptops and iPads and incorporate them into class curriculums. The University of South Carolina Upstate has planned to spend over $880,000 for the installment of this program from 2012 to 2017.
However, despite general university support, there are still professors at this establishment that do not allow the use of laptops, cell phones, or even tablets inside their classrooms. Sophomore, Ashley Thomas, explains her experience with one of her professors who does not allow laptops in the classroom. She said, “My professor absolutely does not like computers in his classroom. When one of the students said their handwriting was terrible for writing notes and wanted to use their laptop, the professor replied that they then need to go to disability services in order to for him to think about granting their request.”
In trying to reach out to some of the professors that did not agree with the Step-Up program and ask them why this situation was happening, all were reluctant to say exactly why they discourage the use of devices in their classrooms. Professors have said that they are a distraction to class, and that they can disrupt the educational process. Sure, the use of cellphones, as far as texting, in the classroom may be bothersome, but should personal vendetta get in the way of individual student learning behaviors? Parents and students alike spend a lot of money on computers, as well as technology fees, and, yet, there are still professors that prohibit them during class time.
The Step-Up program offers a summer faculty development institute (FDI) in which faculties are trained in ways to build lessons and other skills that will help them implement technology in their classrooms. This is proposed every summer until 2017. To the faculty members that believe technology is more of a distraction than a powerful learning tool, when will you “Step-Up?”