Thursday, June 9, 2016

Should students use laptops in the classroom?

Step into any classroom and you'll see rows of students with laptops open tapping away at their keyboards.  Some of these students are taking notes, some are checking facebook or instagram.

Aside from distractions, I've wondered whether laptop usage is a good thing or not.  Turns out, the evidence is pretty clear.   We shouldn't use laptops for note taking.

Here are a few articles...

Scientific American reports that deeper understanding comes from handwritten notes:
http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/a-learning-secret-don-t-take-notes-with-a-laptop/

See also:
http://lifehacker.com/the-benefits-of-writing-by-hand-versus-typing-1778758792

Laptops are a distraction to not just the owner, but also other students: http://www.rcinet.ca/en/2013/08/20/new-study-shows-computers-in-class-distract-both-users-and-non-users/

And one Prof even writes about being a Luddite:
https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2016/04/28/confessions-of-a-luddite-professor/

I think that we should seriously consider imposing laptop bans in classrooms, but also encourage online students to be low-tech and keep notes using pen and pencil.