Colleges worldwide are investing millions in “smart” classrooms, but Meadows Dean José Bowen has challenged his colleagues to “teach naked” – by which he means, sans machines. Dean Bowen believes too many professors use PowerPoint as a crutch rather than a creative tool – and class time should be reserved for discussion, he contends, especially now that students can download lectures online and find libraries of information on the web.
Statistics back him up: A study published in the April 2009 British Educational Research Journal found that 59 percent of students in a new survey reported that at least half of their lectures were boring, and that PowerPoint was one of the dullest methods they saw. They gave low marks not just to the popular slide-display program, but to all kinds of computer-assisted classroom activities, even interactive exercises in computer labs.
“The least boring teaching methods were found to be seminars, practical sessions, and group discussions,” said the report. In other words, tech-free classrooms were the most engaging.