We decry: those stupid clickers

Sometimes we forget that technology is there to complement our lives, not take it over.Like jewelry, a little here and there can be nice but if you wear a solid gold brick around your neck, it’s not going to be long before you realize what a bad choice such excesses can be.Just because something seems dazzling and nice, doesn’t mean it’s going to fit comfortably into our lives.The same can be said of that annoying clicker that many students are made to buy for their classes. They are expensive, awkward and of dubious value.It should seem obvious that some things just don’t need to be augmented with electronic circuitry. Attendancetaking is one of these things.For thousands, if not millions of years, professors have managed with nothing more than a slip of paper to accurately gauge who is and who is not in class. It’s easy and cheap; the students even supply their own pens and pencils for this task.And, in the days of yore, the roll was called — a more environmentally sustaining device than even the pen and- paper method.Whoever decided that these “clickers” were a good idea has forgotten that technology is about innovation. It is about making our lives simpler, easier and in some ways more elegant. The geniuses who designed the perhaps most shining example of good technology in all of our lives, the iPod, were not of the same, “more buttons are good” mindset that the inventors of the clicker seem to have been. As a result they crafted something simple, powerful and revolutionary.They changed the world because they tailored the iPod only to match the needs and wants of the human beings who would be using them.We ask everyone in charge of anything, but most particularly the faculty of this school, to remember this.When you’re going to bring a new piece of technology into the classroom, make sure it’s going to be working for yourself and for the students using it, not against.Make sure that there are clear benefits for the investment you are requiring of your students, because, if it’s not furthering the education that they pay for, odds are it’s not worth it.