Laptops In The Classroom? Good Or Bad?

This is merely my personal opinion. I do not believe college professors should allow students to bring laptops to class with them. For one, they already have their cell phones on hand. That alone is more than enough technology for them to have access to. The computer, and particularly the Internet, are a huge distraction. When a student is sitting in class on their laptop, more than likely they will wander over to Twitter, or to their email, sooner or later. As a result, they will miss out on important information they should be learning and applying in class. They may plan to takes notes, but either barely do so, or not at all.

Before I became an online student, I never brought my laptop to class with me. It remained at home. I did not need the extra baggage, along with my bookbag and purse. Plus, there was the extra hassle of having to remember to charge it up before leaving home, or to take my charger with me. More baggage. Although most of the students I was in class with simply took notes the regular way, via pen and paper, there was always at least one person with a laptop on hand. From what I observed, nine times out of ten they were over on Yahoo looking at the headlines, updating their Facebook status, or hanging out in a chatroom. Sure, they would type out something the professor was saying once in a while, but like clockwork they were back on the Internet moments later. Even when nothing new was happening on Facebook, they would go there over and over, literally craving some new form of activity. It was almost like being hyper. It was obvious this was taking away from their time in class. There were things I was writing they were paying no attention to at all. In the battle between professor and the Internet, the excitement and intrigue of being online usually wins, hands down.

Taking notes by actually writing is not difficult. Students have done it for years, long before anyone had ever heard of a laptop. We as a society have become so spoiled by our gadgets and toys, we act like we cannot make it, even for a few minutes, without them. If a student were to not have Internet access on their laptop, bringing one to class would be an entirely different situation. That way, they would only be able to take notes with it only. They could do nothing else. However, it is not really a computer in the eyes of many if there is no Internet connection.

There was a girl in my philosophy class who always brought both her Blackberry and her laptop to class. She sat next to me. Between all of her texting, and visits to her Facebook page, she never paid attention in class. To make a long story short, she failed the class. She did not have time for it. She gave it no attention, and why? All of the distractions she brought with her. Of course, students have always failed classes in college. That is legendary. However, to add to the possibility of it by bringing your outside life and activities into the classroom is foolish.

There was a history teacher on campus who banned laptops from his class. I can understand his position. There is plenty of time for that when class is over.

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~ by kmnnz on April 27, 2011.

2 Responses to “Laptops In The Classroom? Good Or Bad?”

  1. Kmnnz- i am enjoying reading your blog posts! Always nice seeing others’ opinions on many issues. Laptops in the classroom are not only for college anymore. I teach middle school and every student in our middle school is given a laptop from the school. They carry them around from class to class, then turn them in at the end of each school year. Its got its pros and cons. The main pro being the multimedia projects the students can do on the computers. So many jobs now include multimedia skills that it is good for the students to have the opportunity to explore this. The main con being exactly what you point out, although Facebook is blocked in the school, the students very often chat back and forth between themselves during some of their classes. Of course they are aware enough to know exactly which classes they can get away with this in and which ones they have to be more careful. This totally distracts them from what they are supposed to be doing.

    • I am so glad you are enjoying them! 🙂 I am also enjoying reading your comments. That is amazing to hear that middle school kids are using laptops on a regular basis. Blocking Facebook was a good idea, but I am sure the chatting back and forth brings about interference, too. That is very tempting. I really appreciate your taking the time to shed further light on this issue, and seeing it on a daily basis, you have a lot to say.

      Thanks again for commenting!

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