“Smart” classrooms are far from intelligent
Published: Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, October 30, 2012 11:10
Not everyone has had class in Holmes Hall or Edwards Hall with their new and improved “smart classrooms,” but everyone knows what I’m talking about. You know you’ve thought about those classrooms when you’re in your classes with the cold, hard desks that have probably been there since before you were born.
The colorful, plush furniture and shiny tables are definitely a far cry from the broken, scribbled-on desks we’ve learned to loathe as students. Students probably think they’re walking into a parallel universe when they walk into one of the high-tech, newly remodeled and furnished smart rooms.
So here’s the question: do smart rooms really make students smarter? Do they really have that big of an overall effect on students?
Of course not. That’s like saying you’re a better student because you flap your arms like a bird when you’re walking to class as a weird morning good luck charm ritual. Are they more comfortable? Sure, but since when did being comfortable automatically make someone a better student?
How about never. Students are good students because they know their material and study outside of the classroom. They put the extra time in and reap the benefits. Just because students sit on a couch instead of an old-fashioned chair doesn’t magically get results. You’re not Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz. You can’t click your heels three times and be home. Life doesn’t work like that. School, especially college, is contingent upon the amount of work you’re willing to do to succeed.
Is it nice to be able to sit at a round table in a cushy chair with your classmates? Yes, but let’s be honest here, that’s better for social purposes than it is for learning. Would you ever get anything accomplished? Absolutely not.
I can only imagine what the side conversation does to a professor’s sanity. Paying attention is hard enough in a classroom where you’re looking straight ahead — imagine being able to look at a projector in every direction on the wall.
Sounds like a great idea, right? In actuality, it makes it harder to pay attention for those people who have a hard time paying attention to start with. There’s so much more going on in these rooms.
For example, students are more likely to fall asleep and be inattentive. Some people need more structure. Not everyone can learn in carefree environments. I’m not saying these rooms are the downfall of the student body. I’m saying they are good for comfort, and that’s where I draw the line. Comfort only goes so far in the grand spectrum of things.
Then, there’s the other problem that everybody on campus will face sometime during the four years. As much as we wish otherwise, technology doesn’t always work the way we want it to for a million different reasons. This is one of the main reasons progress slows down during classes. The IT technicians have a lot of classrooms to service on campus and they take a while to get over to the classroom and figure out the kinks. Normally it’s too late or they use up a big chunk of class time to fix the problem.
Not everyone can be super tech savvy. No one ever knows what to do in my classes when the projector or computer isn’t working correctly, which leads to a dream come true for college kids: class gets cancelled. These smart rooms are full of projectors, flat-screen televisions, computers and smart boards.
I mean, having four flat screen televisions in one classroom is a little excessive and unnecessary. One would suffice.
I’m not saying that we should get rid of these classrooms. In fact, far from it. I’m just saying that success isn’t dependent on how comfortable, fancy or new a classroom is.
The whole student body would probably agree that Brockport desperately needs a makeover for its classrooms. It’s time to get out of the dark ages and join the 21st century. Nonetheless, there is only so much environment can play into a situation before it’s just you and your own determination.