Think about a class at a school in which you are allowed to use your laptop. Does it serve more as a distraction or a useful tool? Do you think when all of the student's screens are up the professor feels they are truly engaged? Now think about a classroom in which laptop use is prohibited. How is your learning experience different in this environment than the first?
Laptop use is an is extremely relevant because it affects the everyday lives of Syracuse students. Each of our professors at this university has their own policy on how laptops will be used for their class. Each student is unique with their ability on how to use a laptop productively in class and how it affects their learning.
The debate on laptop use in the classroom is something that has received a lot of attention in recent years because it is so prevalent. However, I think that it is something that should be discussed more, particularly with students, because we are the ones affected each day.
Different teachers implement different laptop policies based on their beliefs. In 2017 in the New York Times, professor Susan Dynarski said that she bans laptop use in her classroom because "a growing body of evidence shows that overall, college students learn less when they use computers or tablets during lectures.
They also tend to earn worse grades." She also found that when students were using their laptops to take notes, although they could get down more information, none of it processed, compared to students who took notes with pen and paper, who got down less, but the lecture processed in their brains.
Despite Dynarski's beliefs, some teachers cannot ignore the benefits of laptops and they allow them to be used in their classroom. In 2017 ScienceDirect found that "computers enable students to engage with educational software, take better notes, complete tasks more quickly, stay more organized, and instantly access a broad range of learning resources," which some teachers feel is necessary for their classroom.
No matter what a teacher wants to believe about the use of laptops in their class, there are actual facts that tell us the effectiveness of their use. In 2016 when the Association for Psychological Science monitored students laptops during class time they found that "participants spent a median of 37 min per class browsing the Internet for non-class-related purposes with their laptops.
They spent the most time using social media, followed by reading e-mail,2 shopping, watching videos, chatting, reading news, and playing games." This showed that they did serve as more of a distraction, and despite their benefits, they may be too much for students to handle in class. Technology is something that is not going to go away, which makes it so relevant and important for students to be aware of its effects.
Teachers each have their own policies for laptop use in class depending on which side they believe has more benefits, which gives students a variety of experiences in class that allow them to determine which is most effective for them. Hopefully, this has given you some insight on why there are certain policies administered about laptops, and in your next class you may be able to think about what you think is most effective for you and your learning.