Tag: Phones in class


GallimaufryDr Johnson defined gallimaufry as

1. A hoch-poch …
2. Any inconsistent or ridiculous medley. …

Here’s another hoch-poch, or hotch-potch (though, of course, not a hotchpot) of links relevant to the themes of this blog that have caught my eye over the last while. I’ll begin and end with some stories of censorship, and along the way I’ll mention open wifi, international perceptions of Ireland, typography, mobile phones, broadcasting, and the future of our universities.

First, as a supplement to my post on the Lady Chatterley’s Lover trials, Alan Travis in the Guardian argues that the failure of the Chatterley prosecution secured the liberty of literature in Britain over the past 50 years. By way of a similar supplement to my post on the decision of the European Court of Human Rights in Akdas v Turkey 41056/04 (15 February 2010) that a Turkish ban on Apollinaire’s Les Onze Mille Verges infringed Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, the Guardian reports that Turkey is at it again: publisher Irfan Sanci is being prosecuted – under the same Turkish provisions that were found wanting in Akdas – for publishing a translation of another Apollinaire noverl, Les exploits d’un jeune Don Juan (The Exploits of a Young Don Juan). To add insult to this injury, the prosecution comes in the week before Sanci is to be bestowed with a special award by the Geneva-based International Publishers Association. (more…)

Technology, students and universities

Cover of 'The Tyrrany of Email' via AmazonThere are some – related – articles in today’s Irish Independent on themes which have featured on this blog. A report published yesterday by the Higher Education Authority (HEA) shows that the number of students going to college has hit a record high (the Irish Times ran the same story under the headline that there are more students than farmers in Ireland) and that courses in science and computing are now back in favour.

However, technology is not necessarily an uncritically good thing, as is shown by the headline to another story: I’m so addicted to email, Facebook and Twitter, I have to hide it from my wife …. In that piece, reviewing The tyranny of email by John Freeman, James Delingpole owns up to his own addiction to communications technology. Of course, he is not the only person whose life is being ruined by email. Moreover, a similar addiction drives the use of mobile phones and laptops in class as increasingly popular displacement activities.

Finally, and a little more seriously, the print edition – but not, so far as I can see, the online edition (though it may in time be published in the archives of the Education section or, perhaps, of the Technology sections) – has a really interesting piece on distance learning at third level, discussing the Open University and Hibernia College. Online education poses both challenges and opportunities for bricks and mortar universities, and they will have to be faced and embraced if universities are to survive and thrive.

The moral of the stories is, of course, that if the undergraduates who now outnumber farmers can’t tear themselves away from their email and social networking sites, they might decide to eschew traditional universities and study online instead!

Phones in the theatre

On the sin of mobile or cell phones ringing in class, here’s a YouTube clip of Hugh Jackman stopping a performance because a phone is going off (and remains unanswered and unsilenced for quite a long time!):

As usual, the BBC has more detail. Of course, it’s not the first time that an actor has been annoyed by interrupting phones: like Jackman, but unlike David Suchet Richard Griffiths has stopped a play when a phone went off; but, unlike Jackman, he asked the offending audience member to leave. However, angry actors had better beware: don’t smash the phone or throw it at the offender!

Update: the original YouTube video to which I provided a link is down due to a copyright claim by TMZ, presumably relating to the clip to which this post is now linked.

The sins of academics and students

Cover of Times Higher, from their site.The current edition of Times Higher Education (I can’t get used to this odd title, I keep wanting to add “Supplement“; but it was dropped some time ago, so I must resist the temptation) has articles on the temptations that academics and students find hard to resist.

First, the academics:

The seven deadly sins of the academy

… The inward-looking, incestuous atmosphere of university life has long made it a breeding ground for some of the canonical deadly sins. … It would not be hard to draw up a list of traditional academic deadly sins on the basis of such examples. But how many have survived in today’s academy …? Which have disappeared? And, assuming goodwill hasn’t broken out on all sides, what have they been replaced by?

Modernisation and a huge expansion of the sector have brought fresh air into even the stuffiest quadrangles. So, if people in general are subject to avarice, envy, gluttony, pride, lust, sloth and wrath, what are the vices particularly prominent on campuses and in common rooms now? …

The answer, it seems, is:

  • Sartorial Inelegance (this matter is always in the eye of the beholder, especially if my tie is too loud);
  • Procrastination (this post is evidence that I occasionally succumb, though elsewhere in the THE there is an article advising academics to blog, so really, I’m working, honestly, I am …);
  • Snobbery (this will, no doubt, be presumed against me, based on where I work, so I’ll just move swiftly on, waving at the riff-raff [add insulting link to taste here] as I go);
  • Lust (no comment; does the Fifth Amendment apply in cyber-space?);
  • Arrogance (oops, see my Kingsfield post);
  • Complacency (I’ve never seen any need to worry – the recession isn’t going to have an impact on the public service, right?);
  • Pedantry (oops, see my Fulsome Pedantry post).

By way of balance, there is also an article about students’ sins (one of which, at least, has detained me here in the past):

Mind your manners, not the phone, please

Students’ use of mobiles tops the list of uncivil teaching disruptions … They turn up late without doing the required reading and then they sit chatting to their friends, texting or looking bored. Just when you thought you finally had everyone’s full attention, a mobile phone rings, and students start packing up their things 15 minutes before the end of the session. If this sounds familiar, it is because these are among the most common examples of student “incivility” in university lecture and seminar rooms, according to a new study. …

Enough said.

Mobile phones in class

By way of update to my recent post about laptops in class, here’s Torill Mortensen thinking with her fingers about recent research on the consequences of mobile phones going off in class:

Why we don’t like cell-phones in class

… Apart from being annoying, distracting and rude, ringing cellphones makes students forget what they learned before and during the ringing of the phone. If the ring tone is a popular, well-known piece of music, this is even worse.

For my classes, I have this rule which has these consequences; in my view, those who visit such consequences upon offending and offensive mobile phones are not criminals but heroes!

Torill concludes with excellent advice for students in class:

So: That mute button? Use it!

Hear hear!