On the first day of class I always tell my students to put away their laptops, cell phones, tablets… all “technology.” “We’re going back to caveman days. Your only tools for this class are paper and pencil,” I say sternly, almost scolding. The students in the front smirk as the clapping of closing laptops punctuate my mandate.
As many instructors will agree, electronic technology-usage in the classroom only serves to distract students, permitting them to gently unclasp fragile threads of their attention to the lecture as they check their Facebook statuses, Instagram posts, and Twitter comments.
But this summer in my Asian American Histories course, I did something quite different. I made Instagram a crucial part of their grade. Continue reading