But laptops can also be valuable assets in the classroom (see Mark’s post about Going Paperless in the Classroom or Amy’s about Ditching a Textbook, for example), and so, no matter how frustrated I get with an individual student’s laptop use, I do not ban them. Instead, each year I hone a section of my syllabus, the “Digital Etiquette Policy.”
via ProfHacker – The Chronicle of Higher Education.
As someone who works best by taking notes in class, and even better when I have my laptop for such purpose, I’m glad that this writer accepts the necessity of technology in the classroom. On the other hand, I have to question how stringent one must be about maintaining student attention, at least in higher education.
From undergraduate education up, students are paying (or having someone else pay for) for an educator’s time in class. They are no longer there because it’s compulsory. If a student wants to pay for the opportunity to sit in class, and then ignore what they’re there to learn, as legal adults perhaps they should have that right.
In a recent workshop, we were taught that the brain needs a “reset” about every 15 minutes to be able to maintain focus. I have to wonder how many professors know this and use it to their advantage in class. If not, is it any wonder that a student’s attention wanders, if only to get their mind on something that isn’t the three hour lecture they have to sit through (another pet peeve of mine regarding physical learning).
From the comments:
1st post: Leave your laptop (and your rattle) outside the classroom door.
Later post: I thoroughly agree with your point that writing things down ” . . . is part of what embeds them into memory,” and there is plenty of research that supports [our] contention on this. But I don’t think the time for “writing things down” is while the teacher is trying to focus attention on concepts, specific points, relationships, etc. that are flying by as students try to furiously scribble (or type, which I do not allow!).
The irony that someone named “electronicmuse” bans laptops from his or her classroom aside, this is the kind of stringent, prescribed learning that ruffles my feathers. As research has shown, learning preferences do factor into evidence of learning. If someone prefers to learn by taking notes during class, bloody let them! Sheesh.