Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Laptops in the Classroom?

Ian Ayres raises a very interesting point. Should we have an explicit policy limiting laptop use during class to class-related activities only - unless a professor says otherwise? Or are we dealing with a generation of multi-taskers that can surf the web, play solitaire, IM their friends, and listen/learn - all at the same time? Or - at least with college students - are we dealing with adults who should be allowed to make their own choices? Lots of questions - few answers. My own take - if you engage your students, they will close their laptops!
Surfing the Class - Freakonomics - Opinion - New York Times Blog:
Several years ago I watched a particularly memorable “Law Revue” skit night at Yale. One of the skits had a group of students sitting at desks, facing the audience, listening to a professor drone on.

All of the students were looking at laptops except for one, who had a deck of cards and was playing solitaire. The professor was outraged and demanded that the student explain why she was playing cards. When she answered “My laptop is broken,” I remember there was simultaneously a roar of laughter from the student body and a gasp from the professors around me. In this one moment, we learned that something new was happening in class.

1 comment:

Mark Viquesney said...

Mike, you are right, "If you engage the student, they will close their laptops." Or, they will type faster as they take notes. I allow students to use their laptops in the classroom. I walk around the room as I hold class and I see what they have on their computers. This maybe also why I don't see them play games since they know I will be behind them at some point. I have yet to have problems. When I do, then it will make it into my syallabus, just as the use of cell phones did years ago.


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