Teaching Naked in Kingston

From The Journal, Queen’s University:

… Wayne Cox, a political studies professor [at Queen’s University in Ontario], said he thinks technology in the classroom can turn students into a passive audience.

“Professors become dependent upon technology and I would argue that that is a bad thing,” he said. “My teaching philosophy is to try to engage the students as much as I possibly can.”

Last year, Cox tried an experiment in his class, POLS261, Introduction to International Politics.

“I banned all laptops in Dunning and made my students a deal,” he said. “I would put all my energy into the lecture if they didn’t bring their laptops to class.”

Cox said he received positive feedback from his students on his actions.

“Students wanted to come to class,” he said. “It was a resounding success and students found it refreshing.” …

Naked Science

Another professor joins the Teach Naked movement.

[John] Kilbourne said he was asked about his use of technology, especially PowerPoint, when he applied for the job at Grand Valley. While not his first choice for lectures, he promised to be open-minded and give it a shot, converting most of his lectures to the program.

“At the start of my first semester I stayed true to my use of markers and board for the first few weeks of class. The students, like those from my previous college, seemed alive and attentive.

“When we got to Rome and the Gladiatorial Games I started using my PowerPoint slides. From almost the first slide I felt uncomfortable with this approach to teaching and learning and was made even more uncomfortable as I experienced the disquiet and anxiety of the students.

“Because the lights were now turned down and the room was darker I could no longer see interest in the students’ faces and as a result could not query them with a question or thought.”

During his third lecture, a student asked him to go back to his old style, using the board.

“I liked your lectures when you used the markers and board. It seems that every professor is using PowerPoint,” the student told him. “How do they expect us to read the notes, write them down, and think about the information all at the same time? I do not like PowerPoint.”

“Awestruck, I asked the class how many of them felt the same? Nearly every hand went high into the air.

“Following their near unanimous response I removed the disc from the computer and swore to them that I would never lecture with PowerPoint again. I followed my promise by leading a discussion with the class about effective teaching and learning, and PowerPoint.”

Kilbourne said students felt as though too often they were simply copying information to be memorized for regurgitation later on an exam.

… Kilbourne [has] had “Teach Naked” T-shirts made up to promote the movement…

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