Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Should we ban laptops?

The reaction against laptops in the classroom has hit the Washington Post.  It lists professors banning laptops at George Washington U, American, William and Mary, and Virginia.

I tend to agree--too often it is clear that students are simply surfing the web or doing something else.  The bigger question is whether typing is as good for memory as writing.

I find writing notes is the best way to remember what I have read or heard.  I don't think typing does as well.


Lammers said...

I do not understand why I should concern myself with the use of laptops in the classroom. These are not children, they are young adults. If they feel a laptop will help them, it would be wrong of me to say no. If on the other hand it proves a distraction and a detriment, that is their problem, not mine. Their exam scores will tell the story, and if they don't, more power to them.

If they prefer to play Mafia Wars over listening to me, it's no skin off my nose. Some of you folks do seem to take a lack of attentiveness so personally.

I just do not feel the need to micro-manage my students' lives. Let them make their own choices and suffer the consequences.

The only way I would ban laptop use (as I do cell phone use) was if it were distracting other students, impinging on their ability to learn. So far, I've had no complaints; laptop users seem to respect those around them.

Anonymous said...

Much of the content I teach requires sketching and laptops are a hindrance not a help in such activities. But Tom is right; let the (Intel) chips fall where they may, so long as other students are not impacted.