Geena Levine ‘21
For the past four years, Merrimack College has provided students with iPads during their first year. In many FYE classes, they also require students to spend $10 on an app called Notability. This app gives students the ability to use an Apple pencil or their finger to take notes on their iPad, and allows them to record the audio of their professors’ lectures and play it while they are studying. Since Merrimack is supplying students with all of these tools to take notes on their iPads during class, many students are confused as to why some professors still have a no technology policy in their classes.
This issue is brought up in many SGA meetings and the overall verdict of students seems to be that they believe that technology should be allowed in the classroom.
“It is important that professors allow technology to be used in the classroom, especially because of the Mobile Merrimack initiative,” SGA Senator Tim Hare stated in an SGA meeting on October 1.
Although many students feel as though professors have gotten better about allowing technology in their classes, they believe that it should be implemented by all professors.
“Technology is beneficial in the classroom for both students and professors. Students having iPads allows them to be more productive in note taking, assignment submissions, and presentations. For professors, classroom technology expands the content they are able to share with students. There are some possible negative outcomes of increased classroom technology,” Hare added. “I believe it does have the potential to be a distraction for students, however, it is the responsibility of students in the classroom to be proactive and attentive in their learning. If students choose to be distracted in the classroom that is their unfortunate prerogative.”
Professors at Merrimack College have differing viewpoints on whether or not they feel it is beneficial or not to the classroom environment and student learning.
Sophia Vinokur, a professor in foreign languages, does not allow students to use technology in her class. “Since my class only meets twice a week I find it easier for my students to focus by taking notes in their notebooks than having the distraction of their devices around them,” Vinokur said.
Communication and Media professor Melissa Zimdars allows technology in her classroom, but has mixed feelings about it. “I see some of the benefits, but it’s also incredibly distracting and tempting of our attention,” Zimdars said. “My parents sat in on one of my classes a couple years ago and couldn’t believe how many people were shopping for shoes, checking Instagram, and even watching baseball highlights.”
Currently Merrimack professors have the choice on whether or not to allow their students to use their technology. Some students feel as though they learn better taking their notes on computers or iPads. In the same way, professors have their feelings on what creates a better learning environment for students. The debate on this topic will likely continue unless the school decides to change this policy.