Lost Arts of Teaching

Anthony Pitucco, chair of physics at Pima Community College, apologized to his audience here on Tuesday at the annual meeting of the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development. He had asked, he said, for "a more advanced room" at the convention center, but there were no rooms available with the technology he wanted: a chalkboard, chalk and eraser. He asked for a whiteboard and markers. Nothing was possible. Forced to make do with "lesser technology," he had to use PowerPoint, which, for various reasons he elaborated on, he considers inferior to chalk and a board.

Pitucco — along with his Pima colleague and fellow presenter, Stewart Barr, chair of philosophy — aren’t Luddites. They can produce a PowerPoint when they have to. But they argued in an unusual session at this gathering of community college educators that the push to use technology in the classroom has diminished the roles of teaching and education. They said they feel that many sessions for faculty members about the use of technology are the equivalent of "Tupperware parties," focused on convenience and not education.

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