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This is Maura Thomas from This is part four of my interview with Charles Palmer, the Executive Director of the Center for Advanced Entertainment & Learning Technologies, of Harrisburg University of Science & Technology. Please click the link at the top of the page to read the earlier parts.

Please click below to hear the transcript, and come back tomorrow and in the coming days to read or listen to the rest of the interview.

Palmer Interview Segment 4

MT: Was it too short to…do you think, to really see any sort of academic results?

CP: Yeah, I think it’s too short to do something like that…it was just long enough for us to be able to say that…”there is an interesting study that could be done here.”  I think, there are a couple of other universities that have done it for one day, and I think they came away with the same understanding of, “hey there’s something interesting here, we should think about this and see what we can do on a larger scale.”

MT: I am researching some…universities that are…that have implemented a…laptop ban, at least at the…not so many school-wide, but…or department wide, but at the discretion of the, of the professor.  So the teacher says, “I’m going to ban laptops in my classroom,” they get the support of the administration for doing that, and I’m interested in your thoughts based on your experience.

CP: That’s great at that institution.  That would never happen here.  I mean we, we really embrace technology across the board.  I think in a number of classes, why…why isolate the students in the classroom to this vast knowledge of information that’s out there?  If you could share a URL that describes a process better than you’re drawing it on the board, why not do that?  If there happens to be a YouTube video about, you know, a social uprising that really brings home part of your lecture, go ahead and let the students view that and make that part of the lesson plan.

MT: Well that’s assuming that they…that’s assuming that they, number one that they couldn’t, let’s say the professor couldn’t put it up on the screen from their own laptop, and that the students couldn’t have that as a homework assignment, but just, in the classroom…to…

CP: That’s true, we do…but then on the other side of it, we do a lot of collaborative work between students, um…in-class work sessions sort of thing, that I think that as an institution, technology…you know, we’re a science and technology university.  I think the idea of banning any technology from our students would be detrimental to what it is we’re trying to do.  We…we’re taking students that are normally under-represented…in, in higher-ed, and bringing them up to speed with some of their peers through technology.  And, because of that, you know, we require all of our students to have a laptop when they come in to the university, and it’s just part of our environment.

MT: Right…

CP: It seems a little artificial, though, you know, to…to tell someone “no laptops.” It reminds me a lot of the ivory towers and…I would rather…I would rather come up with more social or community policies of, you know, “this is the proper way of using your laptop in the classroom.”  You know, letting the students police themselves.

MT: Got’cha.

Please come back tomorrow for part 5 of my interview with Charles Palmer of Harrisburg University.  Thanks for reading!