The Case for Banning Laptops in the Classroom

The case for banning laptops in the classroom’ is an interesting article that looks at whether students’ use of laptops in the classroom has any real benefits. It includes a study by Princeton University on whether writing notes longhand, on paper in a classroom is more beneficial than using a laptop. The study suggests that typing notes on a laptop is actually impairing learning as it is a much shallower process decreasing effective modes of recall. The article also points out that laptops are hugely distracting both for the student and teacher alike. When the teacher looks up from the front of the class and sees faces down behind screens it gives a physical barrier between the students and the teacher. The students have a great temptation to check emails/facebook/surf the web in class and so their ability to concentrate on learning is greatly diminished. In a law context where the optimum learning environment is one where students are engaging in conversation and debate, should the laptop be banned?

The link to the article is here http://www.newyorker.com/tech/elements/the-case-for-banning-laptops-in-the-classroom
The link to the Princeton study is here http://pss.sagepub.com/content/early/2014/04/22/0956797614524581.abstract

Thomas Molloy

 

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One thought on “The Case for Banning Laptops in the Classroom

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  1. Personally, I need my laptop for my own learning. In fact, when I attend conferences, I take notes on a laptop to help me process/consider the material during a talk. This may be unusual, but I have been doing this since my student days. I find it helps me keep up my concentration, as I am otherwise not a very “aural” person. So, I don’t think we should ban. In fact, I would go further and argue that those who find it distracting when they teach are those who don’t find it useful themselves. What we have here is a difference of learning styles with most teachers assuming that students learn “just like them” and are distracted by similar things too.

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