Anyone who has taught in an American college or university recently has most likely been confronted by the spectacle of a quarter or half of the class bending intently over their computer screens throughout the entire hour, instead of looking up earnestly at you, their teacher, standing in the front of the room, manically attempting to attract their attention with a variety of jokes, vocal modulations, PowerPoint slides, video clips, movies, and the rest of the modern Academic audio-visual armamentarium.
Now, needless to say, students managed to find ways of avoiding eye contact with the professor even before the era of the laptop. Looking out the window. Sitting in the back row and whispering together. Even outright laying of head upon crossed arms. None of these phenomena has been unheard of in college classrooms up until now. Therefore, one might wonder, what is so different about a student’s being hunched over a computer screen?
This is the question pondered by Douglas Groothuis, Professor of Philosophy at Denver Seminary, in an intriguing article with the above title that may be accessed here (scroll down to the bottom of the page).