• Jay Colamaria (COM’15)

    Jay Colamaria (COM’15) Profile

Comments & Discussion

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There are 8 comments on YouSpeak: Should Laptops Be Banned in the Classroom?

  1. Ultimately, its the students responsibility to learn the material. However they choose to do so, and what works for them, should be the paramount concern.

  2. Some students may feel more confident in electronic notes (which can be repurposed, shared, changed, and updated more easily, and some may find handwriting easier.

    Personally, if a professor wanted to eliminate laptops, I’d recommend having prepared notes/slides for the students to give them an opportunity to listen/participate/follow without worrying about recording the words.

  3. Disclaimer – I teach at MET. I think professors should have the discretion to ban computer use, or smartphone use. I’m not sure I’d use that discretion but I’ve often thought of it. Now I have students that are researching my lecture as I give it. Arguably that’s good, although it may compromise their attention. I definitely have had students facebooking, emailing, and so forth and that is a real problem.

  4. I took a ton of useful notes on my laptop when I was at BU. The only times in lectures when I did unrelated things was when a lecturer spent an hour using PowerPoint to put up walls of text and then reading straight off the wall. I support a PowerPoint ban for faculty, because one person being distracted by his laptop doesn’t bother anyone else, but bad lecturers hurt an entire class.

  5. As a lecturer myself, I can see the pros and cons. However, based on my and my peers practical experience in classrooms, I see more cons.

    The pros that people mention are more idealistic and suffer a lack of touch with ground reality. A small percentage of students in every class find using facebook, chatting or browsing teh net for some rubbish such as a video of a kitten sneezing or a cute girl more interstign than the lecture.

    The trouble is that when this small segment uses their laptops for the above, it distracts other (say 30% of the class) students who would have otherwise been moderately interested in the class. There is always a group of 10-30% students who are interested in the lecture / subject matter irrespective of any distractions.

    While me and some of my peers try to compensate for this by makign our classes adn lectures as interestign as possible, by makign them interactive, etc., there will always be that small minority of disnterested students.

    In the pre-“laptops in the class” era, these would have been students who otherwise spent this time day dreaming / snoozing off without disturbing the rest of the class.

    In “laptops in the class are great” era, these student send up distracting many other students.

    I have personally foudn barely 2-5% of students actually usign laptops to augment what the lecturer is telling. Again, a good lecturer gives a lot fo information which is not easily or immediately available online (for example: he / she provides a brief synoptic insight into a 10-30 page journal article in a short duration of time). Seeing the original information online during the lecture would not help int his matter.

    The only classes which are helped by laptops in classes are the boring lectures. In the more interesting ones, they are only an unnecessary distraction (Pray, how do they aid the student learning experience?)

    Hence, seeing laptops in classes for the past two years, I am compelled to support banning laptops in class.

    I tried this in my previous semester. Initially there were protests. I obtained feedback from students 3 months after starting the experiment. 65 % of the students felt that their learning had Improved due to the laptop ban. 25% felt it had not changed anything. 10% felt that the ban was needless.

    The marks obtained by the above segments, classroom interactions and student interest levels were all generally connected with the above. However, there was a significant improvement in many under-performing students.

  6. laptops can correct spelling and grammatical mistakes that wont be known by the teachers as well as the students.
    they might also copy answers by copying information from previous projects done at classes.

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