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Pavelko: Old-school teaching methods are more engaging

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Collegian | Madelyn Hendricks

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by The Collegian or its editorial board.

As technology has developed, its integration into education has been inevitable. Whether it be the use of computers and iPads in class to take notes or even the digitalization of standardized testing, the use of technology in school has become almost essential to academic life. 

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Students have started to use technology to their advantage in their academic pursuits, and it is becoming increasingly common to see more iPads and Apple pencils in classes than notebooks and lead pencils. Professors also take advantage of technology, preparing slideshows with PowerPoint to accompany their lectures and posting the finished slideshow product to Canvas, sometimes for students to review. 

However, the old-school teaching methods applied by some professors can help students interact with the material in a different, more active way than if they have a professor who utilizes new teaching methods in their class. 

While the application of technological advancements in the classroom can benefit students and allow for an interactive learning environment, sometimes going back to the basics can be beneficial for students.

Old teaching styles, such as writing on a whiteboard during the lecture or not providing students with a slideshow, are becoming rarer to find at all education levels. As a new generation of students and professors takes over, it seems as if old-school teaching methods are being phased out.

However, these methods have just as many advantages as utilizing technology in the classroom — especially in terms of active learning. 

Instead of providing a slideshow, some professors choose to simply lecture to students. This can force active listening because students need to be actively paying attention to the lecture in class and engaging with the material in order to write notes and receive the information they need to know. Students must be more engaged and fully present in class so they can obtain the information needed for the course.

In contrast, when a slideshow is provided for the lecture, it is easy to fall into the habit of not paying attention to the lecture because all the notes are already written. This passive way of learning can be a large detriment to students’ learning if they do not interact with the content of the course through other active methods. Having to craft their own notes from a spoken lecture forces students to be more engaged in class and actively interact with the material. 

While some might say that having to sit and listen to a professor lecture for 50 minutes is also a passive way to learn, it is more active and engaging than scrolling through a slideshow premade by the professor. 

Students might think that this old-school teaching is, well, a little old-school. However, the old-school teaching methods applied by some professors can help students interact with the material in a different, more active way than if they have a professor who utilizes new teaching methods in their class. 

Although it might seem a little retro, every student should be able to experience old-school teaching styles in their academic career. While every person has their own style of learning and engaging with the material, having a professor who utilizes old-school teaching styles can give students a new appreciation for the college experience before slideshows and Canvas.

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Reach Hana Pavelko at letters@collegian.com or on Twitter @hanasolo13.

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