Computer lab practical lessons for computer science students and other related disciplines have more often than not been deemed a nightmare by most lecturers and trainers in our learning institutions. This is attributed mostly to loss of concentration during class, mainly owing to student participation in social media during class time. Consequently, most education institutions result in harsh methods such as blocking Facebook, twitter and YouTube to allow a healthier learning environment. Now, of course, those students who feel well motivated will eventually find a way around the firewalls, and do as they please.
However, the bigger question is – Are social media networks really a vice that ought to be banned in the class environment?
From a learner’s perspective, rules set in place only spark more curiosity. I mean, most of us believe Linux to be the most secure operating system, while in essence it is really the most insecure. Think about it, the only reason hackers do not spend as much time working on viruses for Linux based systems is because it is mainly open; like a house with all windows and doors unlocked. Who would want to break into such a house?
Perhaps this is a tactic our tutors should implement. I mean instead of blocking the sites, how about you use Facebook to better explain data structures and mining algorithms. Or use torrents to make it clearer how cloud computing works, maybe even hack into an account or two and show students how unsecured php can mess someone up.
I believe, that for an effective learning environment, there should be room for curiosity to be nurtured. After all, we aren’t making mistakes, we are gathering experience?
Of course there will always be a few degenerate characters who fancy to spend time chatting, but even the good book speaks of one dumb sheep that leaves the herd, otherwise do not let the whole flock suffer for the sins of one.