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January 16, 2010

Comments

Aurélie,

The first time I came to the U.S., I was shocked to see that drinks, food and hats were allowed in lecture rooms. Back in the more traditional school environment I grew up in, back in Europe, students would stand up when the teacher entered the classroom. The lack of manners of today's students (in the U.S. and elsewhere) is rather appalling. Forbidding text-messaging is not being strict, it's just enforcing the most basic rules of etiquette.

Hi,
I don't remember how I reacted to hats when I first came to the States, but you're absolutely right, when I was in college in Paris, we never had food or drinks in lecture halls. (But we also did not choose our schedule and the Registrar's Office always planned for a one-hour lunch, which is not always possible for American students. The one thing I do mind is food with a strong smell, which isn't a problem at Lehigh but was a problem at MIT when people got their lunch from the food trucks. The smell distracted everyone by making us hungry!)
It's good to hear your perspective. I sometimes feel like I'm refusing to adapt to technology by being against the use of Blackberries in class.

Aurélie,

Frankly, I think it has everything to do with respect, and very little to do with adapting to technology. A student who is in class texting is (essentially) stating, albeit non-verbally, that he / she does not care about what the instructor is saying, and that he / she does not care if his / her actions distract the other students attending the lecture.

Before I came to the U.S. for grad school, I taught Calculus to freshmen in my alma mater, and texting in class was enough reason for me to ask the student in question to leave the classroom. So, again, I don't think you are being strict (at all).

Personally, I chose to have the lowest-tech cell phone possible. In my humble opinion, the more advanced cell phones become, the more they own us (instead of us owning them). I speculate that, in the future, countryside retreats, away from the internet, phone calls, and constant interruptions, will be highly sought-after by some professionals, mainly those in the corporate world. The chance to focus on one thing for several hours is becoming a luxury.

"I chose to have the lowest-tech cell phone possible." Me too!

"I speculate that, in the future, countryside retreats, away from the internet, phone calls, and constant interruptions, will be highly sought-after by some professionals, mainly those in the corporate world." Hopefully they'll refrain from sneaking a peek at their Blackberries during the breaks. It'd be a pity if Americans, who already work more than their European counterparts, had to work even longer hours to make up for their lost productivity.

Thanks for the great comments.

Heh...yeah, well, welcome to us young people XD. Ooh look, shiny object! I'm not sure if I would have eaten the marshmallow, but I don't get texts either. Plus, I know that if I'd stopped listening to Prof. Thiele's lecture even for a minute, I'd be behind for the next ten =X. (That actually happened to me on the first or second one =[).

Anyhoo, multitasking I think may have its upside in people's ability to process multiple information streams. I believe the air force looks for that when trying to find pilots.

That said, I'm not sure how much of an attention deficit issue I have. So far, all of my tough quantitative courses have gone my way for the past several years =).

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