Teaching, Learning, and Doonesbury
I'm not sure how Gary Trudeau does it, but he continues to capture cultural issues of the day, including in this cartoon:
What a great reflection on today's classroom. We have a student who is "multitasking" in class. I know that some say that multitasking is an ability that the younger generation has. I agree that they are more comfortable trying to multitask, but it often appears that it is at the expense of focus. While it appears that Zipper is multitasking in class, he's actually only attending to his email.
However, this is a student who knows how to find information when he needs it. I think this illustrates and emphasizes the need for instruction to move away from pure delivery of information (which the internet is really good at doing if students are able to find and appropriately evaluate sources on the web) to instruction that asks students to interact with the content actively, socially, and reflectively (see the title of this blog!).
Large enrollment courses have often been safe havens for pure content delivery instruction. However, recent models have shown that there are options. For example, see the SCALE-UP (Student-Centered Activities for Large Enrollment Undergraduate Programs) project at North Carolina State University. The University of Minnesota's Office of Classroom Management has recently opened two "Active Learning Classrooms" that are modeled after the SCALE-UP efforts.