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Tuesday, October 10, 2006
A Laptop? Why I Never…
Universities have reopened their classrooms over a week ago. My university has however used this first week to have numerous opening ceremonies, to make big administration changes and to mess up the existing groups and start all over again. The result: my original 520 group was turned into 531 and moved in a different series. And I really didn’t know any of my colleagues.

Today was actually my first day of attending classes. The plan is to go to school in the morning and then come to work, where to stay till 9 pm. Well, as I am going from one place to another Bucharest-Ploiesti-Constanta (in no particular order), I decided to use my new notebook for taking notes. Why bother with papers that I always seem to misplace when I can have studying material with me, whenever, wherever?

All decided, I got to class today, switched the computer on and was quietly waiting for classes to start. One of my new group-mates, a guy that seemed a bit slow to me, was wondering if I wouldn’t get into any trouble for it. Why would I, I thought to myself, it’s not like I’m playing Solitaire or God knows what on my computer?!?

First seminar: Accounting. I felt great, the same teacher as last year that taught us Accounting basics. She just took a look, understandable as she needed to make sure I was not doing something else. Then I actually took part in the class as I remembered more than expected from last year.

The second seminar was hilarious. The teacher, quite young, entered and at a point asked me “What are you doing?”. I was blocked for a second and then replied “I’m writing” (she was presenting the needed tasks to obtain points). She wanted to know if I found it easier to type on the notebook. I replied it was easier to then have needed materials wherever I go. She paused and then said “But you know, at the exam, you won’t be allowed to take it on your computer!”

I smiled as in my astonishment found nothing better to do. I told her I knew. Although I wanted to say “You know, actually I wanted to speak to the Dean about this. We should have a wireless connection here, take the exam and then email it to you from the examination room!” It is my second year here. How could I not know these details? Oh, and did I mention she also wants a Power Point presentation for our group project?

So folks, although here in Bucharest and in my uni we’re all talk about the information age, about how important computers are, it takes one laptop in one classroom to give birth to a whole set of fears. I first thought to quit using my precious to take notes. Then I thought they will all get used to my bringing my laptop to classes and finally spare me!

Tags: Computers, Notebooks, Technology, Education, University, Alina, Alina Popescu

posted by Alina @ 6:51 PM  
  • At 10/10/2006 10:24 PM, Blogger Ryan said…

    I should consider myself lucky then, as most of my courses consist of slide-shows and pdf documents profs. comment upon in classes, and which I can later download. The only courses for which the black-board was still used were math related, and one of them still was based on some slides that were later scanned and uploaded on the professor's webpage. We have hot-spots around the university buildings (and free access to the Internet:D), and you can see students taking notes on their laptops or smartphones (PDAs seem to have lost the battle around these parts). You can also bring your laptop with you at the exam, if you're allowed to have some documenation at hand during the exam, that is - just pressing Ctrl-F and typing a keyword insteand of browsing through tens or even hundreds of printed slides is the reason of great envy between students nowadays, I can tell you that for sure. :)
    I just felt like saying that as I am surprised by the stir your "precious" caused, as the OLPC program ( gains more and more ground. Or are we considered by some as part of those third-world countries that await the arrivial of the $100 laptop?

  • At 10/11/2006 7:57 AM, Blogger Alina said…

    Ryan, you are indeed lucky! Taking the laptop to the exam would be something in such cases...Anyway, i think they were acting so strange because I was the only one. If there were more like me, well then, it would all be settled. I think I should simply give them some time to adjust.

  • At 10/11/2006 4:12 PM, Anonymous Shirazi said…

    There are over 600 computers in my uni. That said, believe me, most teachers still prefers a hard copy. What is more, students are familiar more with Orkut than Power Point. When they have to, they get with outside help.

    Nice post that reminds me of chalks and chalk throwing…

  • At 10/12/2006 12:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Well Alina.. Change is healthy change is good. Who knows may be you will make a trend in the Uni.. :D Good luck

  • At 10/12/2006 10:08 PM, Blogger Cristina Banu said…

    Ali, I understand your point. I remember I saw in Dutch university the usage of notebooks for every student and the loans they received from the uni administration for paying the computers during the entire 4 year period. Of course I then returned to Romanian "medieval" university system with the old papers, and even if in my uni we have access points for wireless connection, the students couldn't afford the notebooks. Therefore the problem chain for our education system is quite long.

  • At 10/13/2006 7:05 AM, Blogger Alina said…

    Shi, there are moments when we all prefer a hard copy. But that does not mean we should so reject all alternatives.

    Sarah, yup, I am hoping to set a trend so others would follow. If they do, I will no longer be the only one :)

    Well Cris, it is a bit medieval maybe. But I now wonder if the teachers are really the issue. There are students who own/afford laptops but they still would not use them in class out of a false feeling it is not appropriate.

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Name: Alina
Home: Bucharest, Bucharest, Romania
About Me: "This is my church. This is where I heal my hurts". It's also where I feel free and my preferred means of expression.
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