CMU School of Drama

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Students are Better Off without a Laptop in the Classroom

Scientific American: As recent high school graduates prepare for their migration to college in the fall, one item is sure to top most students’ shopping wish lists: a laptop computer. Laptops are ubiquitous on university campuses, and are viewed by most students as absolute must-have items, right alongside laundry detergent, towels, and coffee pots.

5 comments:

Nicholas Cialone said...

In my school we were given iPads in 7th grade for use in class to do things like collaborative projects, presentations, take notes, etc. The school just recently decided to abolish the initiative, and in an interview with the High School Principal I was told that it was for similar reasons to what the article mentions, that students were primarily using the iPad for games, social media, and other non-work related activities. However, it was revealed that they also stopped providing iPads because many students brought their own laptops, so they deemed the iPad unnecessary. While I understand the argument that students can be distracted when using technology in class (I know I have many times, and I prefer to take notes by hand), I also think that it is up to the student to exhibit self control, and if they are distracted by games and social media, the student themselves should be able to either stop, and only do schoolwork on the laptop, or realize that they are wasting their education, and not bring their laptop to class anymore. Though this may seem harsh, it is only because I do believe that for some students, either solely using a laptop, or having one nearby during class can be helpful to some students. For example, I tend to take notes on paper, then use my laptop or iPad to add homework to my calendar and other tasks such as researching and writing up assignments that will be turned in (though this is in part due to my bad handwriting).

Sidney Rubinowicz said...

In the midst of our fast-paced society, people often fail to question the impact of our technology. This article introduced the perspective that devices can harm the effectiveness of education. Multitasking could lead to a loss of focus and productiveness. This is important to recognize in the theatrical field because often times the workload seems impossible. When this occurs, people overload themselves and become stressed out, ultimately harming their well being and the quality of their work. This article utilizes statistics to emphasize the harmful effects of students surfing the web during class rather than paying attention to the lecture. Lowered exam and project scores were just a few of the negatives. But once this habit is instilled, it can be transferred into the workplace, which would create a harmful domino effect. Students can, and should, get in the habit of remaining engaged in class, with just a paper and pen for notes. I like that this article was added into the mix of articles because while it may stray from entertainment, it is extremely relevant.

Mirah Kozodoy said...

I found this article interesting and, while I agree with some of the views expressed, I think I take a different stance in assigning blame. I agree that having laptops in the classroom can be distracting, as they provide the opportunity to zone out during class. I do not, however, think that it is the fault of the technology that students miss out on classes. At my school, in some classes, we are permitted to use computers to take notes or look something up. I don’t think I know anyone who has taken advantage of this privilege to space out during class, and I think that comes from the attitude towards work that our school teaches. We’ve all been told and now understand that if we don’t pay attention in class, we’ll only be hurting ourselves. In terms of using computers in class, I think it’s a personal choice, and, while I actually do find taking notes by hand a lot more effective, I can understand that using a computer would be equally as beneficial. At the end of the day, I agree with the point that the author of the article is making but I also think she should not have made such sweeping and broad statements.

Sammy Williams said...

I’m honestly not surprised by the results of the research at Michigan State. In my district of Maryland, the Board of Education has saved money to buy Chromebooks for students. While the intent is good, I do not think some of the effects are. My sister had Chromebooks introduced to her class activities in fourth grade, and she is so used to having spell check on hand that she (not to mention most of her grade) now has difficulty spelling without it. In my high school, I see kids ignore teachers to play computer games every day. More often than not, those kids do worse in class than those of us who pay attention and use our Chromebooks for purely academic purposes. To combat these trends, there needs to be more regulation of what technology in schools is used for, as well as education for students regarding technology addiction. I’ve never been one to use computers in school for anything other than research and essay writing, because I do better when I hand write things. I know the value of staying engaged in class, and I personally think having a computer there with me all the time would hinder that

Veronica Chen said...

The information that was given in this article is not at all surprising. As a student at a school that requires students to have laptops for class, I know from personal experience that everything that was mentioned in this article is true. Although the facts given are true, I do believe that having my laptop in class in beneficial simply because it's more efficient. I used my laptop in class to take notes during my first two years of high school and only switched to pen and paper because I felt like I needed a change from using my computer all the time in class. I did like having the computer because it was easier for me to type my notes and I felt like I could type everything faster, but sometimes I did feel disengaged in class when typing on my computer. After my sophomore year, I learned that hand writing my notes helped me to retain information better, so I only used my computer for a class where I was required to type instead of hand write.