Laptops Are Great. But Not During a Lecture or a Meeting.

from NYTs

Step into any college lecture hall and you are likely to find a sea of students typing away at open, glowing laptops as the professor speaks. But you won’t see that when I’m teaching.

Though I make a few exceptions, I generally ban electronics, including laptops, in my classes and research seminars.

That may seem extreme. After all, with laptops, students can, in some ways, absorb more from lectures than they can with just paper and pen. They can download course readings, look up unfamiliar concepts on the fly and create an accurate, well-organized record of the lecture material. All of that is good.

But a growing body of evidence shows that over all, college students learn less when they use computers or tablets during lectures. They also tend to earn worse grades. The research is unequivocal: Laptops distract from learning, both for users and for those around them. It’s not much of a leap to expect that electronics also undermine learning in high school classrooms or that they hurt productivity in meetings in all kinds of workplaces.

Measuring the effect of laptops on learning is tough. One problem is that students don’t all use laptops the same way. It might be that dedicated students, who tend to earn high grades, use them more frequently in classes. It might be that the most distracted students turn to their laptops whenever they are bored. In any case, a simple comparison of performance may confuse the effect of laptops with the characteristics of the students who choose to use them. Researchers call this “selection bias.”

More here.

, ,

103 Responses to Laptops Are Great. But Not During a Lecture or a Meeting.

  1. Antonio Chirichiello February 2, 2018 at 7:55 pm #

    The development of technology has been a major impact to our everyday lives. It has enabled us to perform tasks that assist, the improvement in all aspects of life. In the past few decades, the innovation of information technology has been the major focus. The birth of the computer, which occurred during the end of the twentieth century set, the theme for the new millennium. The twenty first century has revolutionized the devices, we use to obtain information and communicate with one another.

    Since the computer, the focus for inventors has been to create a variety of devices that have the identical capabilities but are travel sized. A computer is far too big and heavy for a college student to travel with. Also, a person who does not own a laptop will not have the ability to access, the internet. If they are traveling most of the time every week it will be hard for a student to stay connect to alerts and emails because, college revolves around the internet. A college student uses the internet daily for numerous course related work. A device you can transport with internet capabilities, is beneficial to students who has to submit homework online.

    A laptop is an ideal invention for any college student that: is full-time, has a part-time job, and does not live on campus. Having a busy schedule, a laptop enables a student to access school work from anywhere that has an internet connection. As a full-time college student that is a commuter, owning a laptop is really beneficial to me because, I do my course studies mostly on campus. I use my laptop for everything school related but, I do not take notes on it in class. Typing class notes is a more effective and efficient method than writing them on paper but, I feel that a computer will distract me from learning.

    During a lecture, I look around and notice students on their laptops watching movies, playing games, or messaging their friends. The article states the strongest argument against allowing laptops in class is that, it is harmful and districting to other student near the laptop. I have experienced this situation countless times in class and, I end up becoming distracted from learning. A student in class that is using a laptop for other than notes, he/she is usually watching a movie. It is frustrating for me when I sit next to a student who is on their laptop because, I have to pay for my own college tuition and they probably do not have to.

    In conclusion, I feel that laptops are necessity for college students because, they are able to surf the web from anywhere other than their home. I do not believe that students should use their laptops in class because, they are harming the surrounding students by playing games or watching movies. It is distracting to other surrounding students who are trying to receive an education. It is also disrespectful to the professor. I have to pay for my tuition. So, it is upsetting for me to sit next to a student who is on their laptop because, I am a person who gets easily distracted during a lecture. The laptop is a great invention for a hand help computer but, it a real problem in lectures and it continues to grow.

  2. Don R February 2, 2018 at 8:03 pm #

    There are very few who lecture on personal responsibility. In an age where rights are stressed, and responsibilities are shunned, it is no wonder then when college students of a particular generation (millennials) are given technology that gives them unlimited access to distraction after distraction their grades drop like a rock. Personally I find the increasing reliance on technology by myself and fellow classmates disturbing. But we live in a world of ever-increasing technological breakthroughs where the old style of the quill pen, ink, and parchment are things of the past. I am not suggesting that we merely lump pen and paper along with its cousin, the quill pen, instead use microphones and other available technology to record lectures and go back on one’s free (all-be limited) time and transcribe notes using the audio from the lecture using pen and paper. We live in a world where podcasts have literally replaced talk radio and Youtube professors(Jordan Peterson), and fight commentators (Joe Rogan) become famous through the internet medium. The instant access to information is something that students need to utilize as a razor-sharp tool to bet their opponents with rather than a handicap. Personal responsibility is the overwhelming factor that is lacking in today’s youth, and coupled with distractions we (The “young” people) are doomed to fail in spectacular fashion. That is the biggest factor that we need to consider when replacing “traditional” forms of academic tradition. I am not demanding we burn our laptops in Spanish inquisition fashion. I am just hesitant to fully embrace technology blindly, without second thought. College students, should, try and understand the extent and power of a laptop before fully embracing every it without realizing it’s complexity at a fundamental level. We should adopt the old forms of note taking when we have the luxury. I would just be hesitant to band them outright in the classroom, in my personal opinion. Anything that is illegal becomes romanticized due to its forbidden nature. If I were to discourage their use I would first convince them of the defects and vices of the technology. This article alone is making me rethink noting in general. I do not want to fail and it would be foolish of me not to recognize that my ego would say I am strong enough in the face of unlimited choices. I am not that strong.

  3. NF February 2, 2018 at 8:08 pm #

    I believe that laptop usage in both high school and college classes are a huge distraction to everyone in the class. Student’s using their laptops are usually not taking notes. Most times, they are either watching Netflix, viewing game stats, or shopping online. They’re rarely seen taking notes. If they are taking notes, a browser is opened in another window for entertainment purposes.
    Students who aren’t using their laptops are negatively affected as well. The loud, excessive typing of laptop users tends to be the main distraction. Most students are unable to hear professors clearly due to their typing. Also, students tend to get slightly sidetracked by the vivid images portrayed on their fellow classmates’ screens. For a second, their attention is no longer directed towards their professor. Regaining focus might be slightly difficult after.
    Laptop usage can negatively affect professors as well. Usually, when giving lectures, professors are able to distinguish whether students fully grasp the material by their students’ facial expressions. However, they unable to do that when students are on their devices. Most professors likely assume they do understand due to the lack of questions. Unfortunately, they’re usually mistaken after seeing students’, who frequently use their laptop, poor performances on tests.
    I personally disagree with laptop usage in classrooms. However, I feel as if college students are obliged to do whatever they feel appropriate. They are legal adults. If they want to bring their laptops to class, I believe they should. I believe college professors should stress the detriments of laptop usage in lecture halls and classrooms, but not completely ban them.

  4. Daniel Schreier February 2, 2018 at 8:15 pm #

    The use of laptops by college students, both in classes and in lectures in an interesting topic, since this habit is growing a lot in all college campuses around the nation and the world. The use of these devices in class brings a new dynamic to it, for example, students can use many different software’s which have various tools that can record the lecture, insert visual and audio media, and provide a more dynamic way to take notes of the content which is being presented. However, in my view, as a regular user of these methods for learning, nothing replaces the good and old pen and paper, since they are the only way someone can fully express themselves in the way they want to do it. For example, Microsoft OneNote allows people to take notes in many ways, typing, drawing, writing with their virtual pens on the touchscreen monitor, by recording audio and video, or by taking pictures, but it does so in a very tight manner, meaning the user doesn’t have full control of the way he wants its notes to be taken or organized, nevertheless, when using pen and paper, the student has control of how he wants its topics to be organized, and the way notes are takes. Furthermore, when taking notes on a virtual platform, sometimes things can get a bit confused, since one has to pay attention simultaneously to what is being presented, to the computer screen, and to the keyboard, which can cause some confusion in the brain, especially with people which aren’t good at multitasking, and making them miss important information, whereas using the “old way” this problem is largely reduced. Moreover, having a computer in front of someone is a huge way of distracting them from class, since one has access to all information in the world just some clicks away, and we have to be honest… sometimes, a lot of that can be way more interesting than some classes or lectures. Thus, I can see the authors view, and even agree with it, still, banning computers from classroom is not going to end this situation, especially because everyone can have the same amount of information, just reaching to their pockets.

  5. Connor Wiedeman February 2, 2018 at 8:53 pm #

    There’s no debate that laptops have made our everyday lives incredibly easier. They bring the uses of mail, phones, calculators, paper and pen, and more all into one device. However, all of the possibilities of the laptop is somewhat of a double edged sword. When trying to accomplish work with the entire internet staring back at you, it can be difficult to stay on task and work efficiently. This also applies to using laptops in the classroom. In my personal experience, I have seen students who both utilize the laptop to its potential, and also students who fully succumb to the temptations of online shopping, videos, and games. For the students who stay on track, the laptops greatly improve note taking, researching, etc., but for the students who become distracted easily, laptops can be seriously detrimental to their grades.
    Another interesting thing I have noticed, is that students who are given laptops in high school are much more prone to straying off task, and aren’t able to handle having a laptop in front of them. This could be because high school students are a little bit younger and less responsible. In college, students are much more focused and are able to use the laptops to better their learning. This is because college students are older, and presumably more mature than high school students. Another big reason for this is that college students are paying tens of thousands of dollars, so are much more inclined to take advantage of their time in class and spend it taking notes and paying attention.
    Considering both the pros and cons of the laptop in class, I think laptops should be used by students because one of two things are going to happen. The student either takes advantage of the device and uses it to improve learning, or the student uses it as a distraction and a way to kill time in class. The silver lining in this is that the distracted student might learn from his misuse of the laptops by experiencing a slip in grades, and teaching some responsibility.
    Using laptops in the classroom is a situation where you get in what you put out. If you use it for its purpose, it’s going to help you with work. If you use it to keep yourself entertained, you aren’t going to get a lot out of it. The students who I see staying on task in the classroom with their laptops, are almost always the students who are constantly participating in class and knowing the answer to the questions asked, whereas the students off task don’t participate at all. With all of this considered, I believe students should be allowed to use laptops in the classroom, and given the decision and responsibility of using it for its intended purpose. If people aren’t faced with responsibility early on in their life, then they will struggle later on when faced with an actual job. High school and college students are young adults/ adults and in my opinion should be able to handle using a laptop in the classroom.

  6. Ryan Blume February 2, 2018 at 10:35 pm #

    Laptops have their pros and cons, but based on my experience, there are more cons than pros. I have tried taking notes on my laptop, but I prefer taking notes with pen and paper because I’m able to process information better. The main reason for this is because I write faster than I type. Even though I never tried to ignore the professor, I’ve seen many other students take advantage of being able to use their laptop to not focus on the lecture, but to go on social media sites. A lot of professors I had always had a rule that students can use their laptops for academic purposes only. While the professor is teaching, they assume that people are using their laptops to take notes. The problem is that most students are doing things not related to academics. Not only have I seen students go on social media, but they watch TV shows and even movies. According to “Laptops Are Great. But Not During a Lecture or Meeting” not only does the student on the laptop retain less of the lecture, but it also affects other students’ learning as well because other students will be distracted by what is on the laptop. This is called “negatively externality.” I would agree students can be affected by this, especially because this has happened to me.
    Despite all the bad, there is good from using laptops in class. If a professor may have to demonstrate how to use a computer program and they may want the students to use it in class. It would also make it easier to do assigned in class research for projects. This would allow for class time to be more efficient. The article brought up that it would be easier for students with disabilities to use laptops and based on their condition, I would allow that. Overall, I agree with the author for banning laptops during lectures and limiting its use during class.

  7. Christopher Salimbene February 2, 2018 at 10:57 pm #

    The use of laptops during a lecture or meeting is helpful for people however, it can cause distraction to others in the same room. Some people prefer to have their laptops during a lecture with them because they may be excellent at typing notes rather than having poor note taking by hand writing the notes. I believe that handwriting the notes during a lecture is preferably more educated than those that type up their notes because people who prefer to take notes from their laptop could not only type up notes discussed from a lecture, but can also be distracted with researching other topics that don’t fit with the lecture while those that handwrite their notes seem more educated, and understand the lecture superior. Also, the professor could be talking about important information that isn’t mentioned on the power points and those that use their laptops during lectures could miss out on this information by playing games or texting their friends. People in this generation should realize that others in a different generation didn’t have a variety of technology that we have today and consider hand writing to stay focused on the lesson. There are a few points why students prefer to use laptops during class rather than hand write notes but they have to realize that if their laptops keep them distracted, then it would cause them to receive a poor grade in the class and unprepared come exam time. It seems that more college students would rather use laptops during lectures than high school students because high school teachers attempt to prepare high school students to hand write notes, and would keep them more focuses in their college courses rather than in college, majority of students are young adults and are capable of being responsible for note taking.
    Generally speaking, I believe that laptops aren’t an excellent option to have during lectures because students would either be distracted looking up other topics and won’t realize what’s being discussed in class. Students who tend to use laptops for note taking during class end up not understanding the lecture and have a better chance of receiving poor performance in the class than those who hand write their notes have a greater possibility of succeeding in the class. Also, people who prefer laptops don’t even have to be listening to the professor at all, they can be on either social media, texting their friends, or working on other assignments for a different class. Sometimes, the professor could just lecture without a power point and laptop note takers would be affected by this if they don’t understand the key points of the lecture or if they struggle with homework due to the fact they weren’t paying attention in class. However, hand writer note takers know how to summarize the lesson in their own words rather than laptop note takers who wouldn’t understand how to put the notes of the lecture in their own words. Overall, hand writing note taking can be difficult to some people but it would definitely help them understand the lecture better than the laptop note takers who could be distracted watching videos or on social media and struggle with the lesson for other assignments.

  8. Daniel Colasanto February 3, 2018 at 7:44 pm #

    According to this article students who type their notes on a laptop are more likely to do worse on exams than students who hand write their notes. A professor decided after what he believed to be substantial evidence from various studies, to no longer allow the use of laptops or any electronics in his classes. I personally feel that using a laptop and writing notes by hand are very similar and that these studies not hold much weight in terms of legitimacy. I know many students including myself who type their notes solely because it is easier and much more organized. Instead of writing your notes by hand then trying to understanding your hand writing when you refer to it. Typing your notes on a laptop makes your notes much easier to write, read, put into organized folders, allow the use of helpful applications to have the notes read to you by the computer and many other additional features.
    As well as these two methods of taking notes very similar in my opinion I do not believe that a professor should be allowed to demand his or her students to take notes only by hand. Of course if you are using your laptop for entertainment and watching videos instead of actually paying attention to the lecture, most students doing that will not be able to do well first because they were not paying attention and second because they’re note taking would significantly suffer. All in all, I can see if students are not using their laptops for academic purposes relevant to the course they are currently in why laptops could be a significant disadvantage for unfocused students however I believe that focused students use their laptops efficiently and effectively and that there is not much of a difference between notes on laptops and notes written by hand.

  9. Chris Lineman February 7, 2018 at 5:48 pm #

    The use of laptops in class has its pros and cons. There is no arguing that. A lot of times students are easily distracted during a lecture. Studies show that most people don’t have a long attention span and the internet has caused that attention span to decrease even more. The article states that a lot of student’s grades are worse with the use of laptops in class. I do believe this. I do a lot better when I am forced to hand write the notes during class. I feel like when you write something down you remember it better than typing it. However, typed notes are much more organized looking and that can help make it easier to study later.
    The amount of times I have seen other students watching videos, browsing social media, and playing computer games is just absurd. I can’t say I have not done this myself in some very boring and easy classes, but it is sad to see. We’re paying a lot of money to browse the web while we should be learning. Plus, many people use the computer screen to just hide their phones behind if they’re not just IMessaging on their computer. Banning laptops in class eliminates a lot of distraction.
    I have seen people use laptops in a very educational way too. Some people take great notes and have them organized so nicely. Also, students can quickly look up an answer to a question the teacher asks. Sometimes you forget a term’s meaning too and don’t want to interrupt the professor, so you just Google it real fast and comprehend the lecture.
    Personally, I know I am better off without a laptop and prefer to learn the old-school way with pen and paper during class. I do understand that some students do learn better looking at a computer. I just do not have the attention span with such easy access to distraction. I respect the professors wishes whenever they ban phones and laptops in the class. Definitely can see why some students get annoyed by it too. There’s a lot of benefits to having a laptop in class if you are being responsible. I believe it does have a positive impact on my grade though by not using a laptop during class.

  10. Thomas Johnson February 7, 2018 at 6:50 pm #

    The use of laptops in classes rooms has vastly increased in the last couple of years. More and more students are now using laptops as a tool to take notes in their classes. But is this tool helping them or just overall making them a distracted student. In the article it makes the argument that laptops are hurting students and their learning in a classroom and I could not agree more. While taking notes on a laptop there can be a lot of different distractions that could keep you from learning. For example many laptops now have the capability to text from them which can lead to being even more distracted. Sometimes you might be just taking notes and happen to see something pop up on your screen that interest you and before you know it you have completely lost track of where the course is headed. Overall personally I feel that banning laptops in a classroom is a great idea but the professor of the class needs to also understand how to make the class so therefore there are no laptops needed. For example a professor should make the class a lot more interactive based and discussion based. By having these types of classes it will get students heads of their computers and more focused on what is going on in the class. By having discussion it will also help increase you learning because you are interacting with the content of the class rather than just taking notes. Overall I feel that by having a classroom ban on laptops it will greatly help increase the value of students learning in a classroom.

  11. Coby Dunn February 7, 2018 at 7:21 pm #

    Here at Seton Hall, laptops are a part of our everyday experience. Since they were given to us at the beginning of our freshman year, we have used them as tools to complete homework, study, research, and a plethora of other things. There is not a single class that I go into that does not exhibit at least one student using a laptop. However, I also see students using their laptops for other tasks during class. Most predominately, students use laptops to play games, use social media, and other non lecture based activities. I could argue that laptops are given to us to take notes, learn, and help us in our class. But, this just is not the case that I have witnessed in my personal experience. I tend to agree with the New York Times article that less technology equals a greater retention of the information. I have tried to use my laptop during lectures, and I always find myself wondering what the lesson was actually about. Another problem with the laptops in class is how it effects other students. The constant email notifications, or occasional movie I see playing during a class is more than enough to ruin my train of thought, and distract me from a lecture. The article lists all sorts of studies done on technology in the classroom, but I could have come to the same conclusions based on my own personnel experience. Personnally, I think Laptops belong outside of the classroom. The use of blackboard, the internet, and any Microsoft office app is a great study tool on your own. Lectures are meant to be listened to, and I do not think that you can do that effectively while typing away on a laptop.

  12. Samuel Kozlov February 8, 2018 at 4:05 pm #

    Ever since I can remember, I and many other students have been using laptops at school. Starting in middle school, I’ve been using my laptop in order to research critical information that was necessary to excel in school. Although I usually have not utilized the laptop I received to distract myself from class, I did notice that many other students were not using the laptops to enhance their learning, but rather to hinder it. That begs the question, are laptops really a good investment for schools in order to help students learn or do laptops take away from a healthy working environment? Based on my personal experience, the answer is clear. Much of the time, students with laptops are simply not paying attention to the task at hand, therefore effectively wasting their class time and the professor’s time as well. In the article, the quote, “In a series of experiments at Princeton University and the University of California, Los Angeles, students were randomly assigned either laptops or pen and paper for note-taking at a lecture. Those who had used laptops had substantially worse understanding of the lecture, as measured by a standardized test, than those who did not” (Dynarski 7). This quote essentially summarized what I stated before, which was that schools really do make a big mistake by allowing laptops in class. Clearly, when students are not interested in the professor’s lecture they will utilize their laptops as a means to escape from the class they are in. This will of course drastically reduce the amount of information they retain, thus reducing their ability to get a good grade in their classes. Overall, laptops can be a useful tool for classes, but the way that many students use them is ineffective to say the least. Even if I am focusing on the lecture at hand, even seeing someone else on their laptops goofing off can and does distract me from what the professor is saying. Hopefully, over time schools will begin to wake up and understand the adverse effects of having laptops in their classes.

  13. Kirsten MacArthur February 8, 2018 at 9:19 pm #

    Laptop use in meetings and classrooms has become a norm in this day and age. The development of technology such as laptops and smart phones over the years has altered the way that people learn, focus, and develop in a variety of ways. Many people have quite opposing views regarding the technology we use and how it is impacting our lives. Some believe that it is hindering our ability to function as we used to, such as lessening our communication and relationship building skills. Others may be on the complete opposite end of the spectrum and believe that technology has completely improved our lives by providing us with simpler ways to complete tasks. Most of us have become reliant on our technology, and perhaps feel that we cannot live without it. Because of this, students and employees feel that using it in the classroom or meeting is necessary, but it may actually be holding them back.
    I feel that each individual learns in their own way, so it is possible for some people to process information better if they are typing it during a lecture, rather than writing it with a pen and paper. In order for this method of note taking to be effective, though, they cannot be distracted by the thousands of other features of their laptop. For someone who becomes distracted quite easily, note taking on a laptop is definitely not the best method if the person is actually trying to absorb the information being taught in real time. In approximately five or ten minutes, the distracted student will most likely open a new tab to possibly Google search something, which can spiral into so much more. Twenty minutes later, they may be online shopping, playing games, or even doing work for another class. In this case, there is no possible way that the student is learning more than the student next to them that is using just a paper and pen to take their notes.
    It is very interesting to think about the fact that the people surrounding the laptop or smartphone user in a classroom or meeting are actually affected negatively by it, too. I can definitely recall multiple times when I was being distracted by something another student was doing on their laptop that was unrelated to class material. I have witnessed students watching sports games and YouTube videos, playing games, and using social media in class, which took my attention off of the professor and ultimately ended up on their screen. I am definitely also guilty of utilizing my laptop incorrectly in classes before, but I feel that I am typically using it to get other coursework out of the way. Although I am using it for school, I am still not using it properly, which is why I strongly believe that in the grand scheme of things, technology usage in class is almost always a distraction to the user and the surrounding students.
    The article mentions that using a pen and paper to take notes in class and then typing the notes at a later date helps with memorization. I definitely agree with this statement, because repetition is one of the best ways to memorize information. In any case, the more you hear or write something, the more you start to remember it each time. This is just another reason why old fashioned note taking prevails. In this professor’s case, I agree with her policy of no laptops in class. If I were in her position, I might leave it up to the student because they are paying for the class, but the fact that it distracts other students too is a very valid reason to ban them. Since it is her classroom, it is her choice as to what she allows and doesn’t allow to occur, but she has a strong argument as to why laptops are not beneficial to use while in lecture.

  14. Mary Margaret Miller February 9, 2018 at 1:27 pm #

    The argument depicts the negative affects laptops have in the class setting and how it has impacted the grades of students. As technology advances, we have access to anything and everything at our fingertips. If you need an answer to a question, you can just Google your answer and have it in seconds. There’s no need to go to the library anymore to pick out a book to conduct research with. However, in a classroom setting, it has been proven that laptop usage during a lecture does solely harm and no good to students.
    As we are able to have access to many things on our devices, it is incredibly easy to get distracted from what the instructor is actually saying during the lecture. It has been shown that students who take notes on laptops have a harder time retaining the information later on, while students who still stick to the pen and paper route tend to do significantly better in the course. As a student, I have witnessed the abuse of technology within the classroom and I find that I also become distracted and spend more time staring at the light illuminating from other student’s screens than listening and writing down notes from the lecture the professor is giving. More and more professors have been jumping on the bandwagon and have banned the use of laptops in the classroom. Not only has this given students a better learning environment, it has also helped all students excel and retain information better from the lectures.
    Studies and researchers have proven that LED light that illuminates from computer screens are slowly damaging our eyes over time. As we enter the digital age, it has provided us with many benefits for the sake of convenience, however we do not think about the lasting affects it has on our health. Although children are more at risk for bad vision being that their eyes are more susceptible to blue light, we as adults should know when to unplug from our devices, and when to be less dependent on them. Although Lasik surgery can repair retinal damage from the blue light, the effects of the procedure last between eight and ten years. Thus the corrections that were made to your eyes would be erased.
    As the use of technology in the classroom poses a threat to the way students learn, and the risk of our eyesight, the usage of laptops should be heavily limited, if not banned from the classroom. College students pay thousands of dollars to take courses, therefore they should not be spending their time in that course watching a movie or playing a game on their laptop during lecture. Not only does it inhibit their learning abilities, but also impacts the ways other students around them learn. By limiting the usage of electronic devices in the classroom, all students will benefit and learn more and see what their course(s) have to offer.
    Martinsons, C. “Light-Emitting Diodes (LED) for Domestic Lighting: Any Risks for the Eye?”Pubmed,
    30 July 2011,

  15. Koyinsola Okulaja February 9, 2018 at 10:15 pm #

    Technology evolving has had a lot of effects on us, one of the effects it has had on school is not only in phones but more importantly on laptops. Laptops are integral part of a student’s success in college today. Any college classroom you walk into today you will see a huge percentage of kids on their laptops. This is a very tense subject because many of the kids who are on their laptop are not actually writing notes or paying attention in class. I’m able to see this in some of my classes this semester and sometimes I am even the one watching videos or doing other distracting things in the middle of a boring lecture. This has lead to a couple professors banning the use of laptops. This has proved to be a bad thing especially for the kids who actually use their laptops to follow PowerPoints and write notes. One of the pros of laptops is that it is easier than handwriting but many argue that you’ll better understand the information if you were handwriting rather than typing. This also allows you to keep up with the lecture.
    The Laptop has many capabilities, there are a multitude of things that people could be doing rather than paying attention in class. They could be on social media sites; they could be playing games or they could be watching videos. It also causes a distraction for the people sitting around the person on their laptop. I have found that some of my professors are similar to that of the writer of the article Susan Dynarski in that they have banned the use of all technology from their classes, this seems to be a more effective method for us student as it forces us students to pay attention and we are able to learn more. I was also recently talking to a friend who said his professor collects all the phones/laptops of all the students as they enter the class, in order to make sure they are not distracted at any point during the class. One of the negatives of banning laptops in my opinion has been the e-books. Many of us students have love to have the e-books on our laptops because either we can find it online for free or we can get it much cheaper online. One thing we can all agree on is that students with disabilities should be able to use laptops in class whenever they want.
    And as the times continue to pass, I believe the best option for the use of laptops in class is that it should be up to the discretion of the student especially in college. As the students are in college, they should be motivated to learn all the information because of the hefty prices we are paying for tuition.

  16. Senada Ramic February 9, 2018 at 10:33 pm #

    In today’s world, technology is consuming our lives. The first thing we do when we wake up is look at our phones and check social media and mail. So, why wouldn’t we use our laptops in class to keep up during the day? I agree entirely with the article and believe that when we are in a lecture we should not have any technology around us. Laptops and phones should not be allowed. However, students who are disabled do have a right to use it and I agree with that. The article states students who use computers during lectures tend to receive worse grades than those who used paper and pen. All the studies talked about in the article are proving that computers hurt the student, but also the students around them that don’t use it. The fact is, most of the time students are not taking notes, but rather watching Netflix, checking social media or doing other homework.

    One fact that I found extremely interesting was the term “negative externality, which occurs when one person’s consumption harms the well-being of others” (Dynarski, Susan). I really liked this because I did not even considered that my usage of a computer could affect the ones around me. This made me think about my classroom experiences. Days that I did not have my computer around me, made me look around the room to the students that did. I noticed that the sound of people typing was actually bothering me and I kept hearing it. I also noticed when the brightness of people’s laptops were changing and that my focus was not on the lecture, but on the other students with laptops. The studies that were conducted are proof that laptops are a distractions for students.

    Personally, I love to take notes in a notebook with a pencil. I have noticed that I retain the information way more than I ever do when using my laptop. One personal experience I had in school was my accounting teacher who made us read a similar article about how laptops don’t allow student to retain information. The next day in class our teacher talked about how they agreed with the article, but then made all of our homework to be completed online. I was very confused on how someone can say one thing, but make us do the opposite. When it comes to classes that are math based or require us to figure out a solution, I believe homework should be handwritten because when the exam comes we don’t use our computer, but rather do it by hand. To me, this is where there is a huge problem. Learning to do it on the computer is different than hand writing it. I find out that when I hand write my homework I fully take in the material and learn. Overall, I think that in certain classes students may benefit from using a computer, but in the long run, taking hand written notes is one hundred percent more beneficial.

    Dynarski, Susan. “Laptops Are Great. But Not During a Lecture or a Meeting.” The New York Times, The New York Times, 22 Nov. 2017,

  17. Steven Merunka February 12, 2018 at 5:48 pm #

    I do believe there are both good and bad attribute to the use of laptops during lectures. Overall the importance of technology over the decades has been on a exponential growth pattern having more and more everyday items and actions being processed and used on a computer screen. With application such as excel and Microsoft Word coming into play to help expand the format on note taking abilities during a classroom lecture.

    In terms of the positives of a computer in a class is for a clear and coherent notes. Some may have sloppy handwriting so it is hard for them when it comes for a time to study to re-look at class lecture notes, so a computer keeps it organized and easy to read. Also if there are Power Points in the lecture and you happen to be seated far away from the projector it may be hard to follow along. You are able to pull up the slides on your computer to follow along and if the professor is too fast you can use your computer to stay on the previous slide to finishing note taking.

    However there are negatives to being able to have access and freedom to anything on the internet. You may be distracted by outside sources such as online shopping and video games while the professor is lecturing. It can hinder your ability to learn while also distracting the people around you because they is something else going on other than the lecture. However there are ways to prevent that by having locks and other ways to block websites other than the one you need to use for school while in a classroom.

  18. Greg Mattessich March 6, 2018 at 9:48 am #

    I think it is safe to assume the detrimental effects of technology in the classroom. It can certainly hinder learning, but it can also increase it substantially. Laptops are significantly compelling to surf the web with especially during a boring lecture, but as an accounting major, I have found great success with it during class exercises. With the laptop, I am able to go through accounting problems and practices as the teacher goes over them in class, and then I can simply recreate it later for homework or for studying for an exam.

    Perhaps electronics should be allowed, but only during certain times when it is deemed helpful. Using laptops to take notes definitely don’t seem valuable, because a pen in paper is just as good if not even more effective. It’s pretty easy to simply transcribe everything the professor is saying or even just write down what he/she has on the board. Writing things down reinforces lessons more psychologically, and since you are taking notes at a slower pace you are forced to come up with a simpler summary or note of whatever the professor is teaching. Making you think about the lessons in the lecture this way I believe further reinforces the lessons being taught.

    I personally went to a high school where we all were given iPads for use during school hours. I’ve seen exercises in class where it was implemented really well, like a class quiz or trivia game. However, I have also seen it act as a huge distraction to unmotivated students who would prefer to be on the internet or playing games rather than learning. Like I suggested before, perhaps an electronics ban is necessary, but should be permitted during certain class exercises or practices where it is deemed useful.

  19. Sylwia Marut March 7, 2018 at 4:26 pm #

    Laptops have almost become a necessary buy for students entering college. These devices are very useful in the sense that they are portable and help busy students stay on track with their homework and assignments. It is often faster to type an assignment rather than write it, and most teachers at universities have begun accepting electronic copies of assignments instead of handwritten ones.
    It is not only college students that use laptops in class. Many high schools and middle schools are setting up programs for children that allow them to “borrow” and “sign out” laptops, using them in class and then taking them home during the school year. Although laptops are convenient and provide students with a wealth of information in seconds on the web, they can be distracting at any age. When I was going through middle school and high school, my peers and I never used laptops in the classroom setting. We were allowed to type up assignments at home but our notes in class were always handwritten. My freshman year of college, I noticed most people brought their laptops to class. I started bringing mine every once in a while, and by second semester, I had my laptop in class every day. Although my laptop has allowed me to take notes faster and be organized with where I store my work, I have noticed a decrease in my attention span and poorer performance on test scores. I often come home from class and try to study for a test only to realize I did not retain anything. I could stare at a screen for hours trying to remember information and still attend an exam with no retention of the information I was looking at.
    I think this article from the New York Times makes a great point: laptops distract from the professor a great amount. Due to the fact that many laptops allow you to synch text messages and notifications, it is almost impossible to fully concentrate when messages on your screen keep popping up or intriguing top news stories are glaring at you. I agree with the author, laptops are great for people with learning disabilities. However, for people without learning disabilities, they can cause all sorts of adverse effects such as poorer eyesight, headaches, and shorter attention span as well as decreased concentration. I think that I would be more productive and engaged in classroom learning if my university cut off wifi during class hours for students and my laptop only served the purpose of note taking. The article recommends handwriting notes and lectures after typing them, and I intend to try this to see if my performance on exams increases.
    In the professionalism aspect, I think laptops can be distracting because the sound of typing on a keyboard can possibly get annoying and come off as rude to other people in a meeting. Laptop usage decreases eye contact as well. Because laptops have taught us to copy everything word for word due to the fast nature of typing, it is important to practice good note-taking skills in order to be successful in the workplace where often a pen and paper are used for note-taking, a much slower method. If our generation wants to be truly successful, we need to stop abusing technological devices and “going back to basics” in a sense by taking notes and really listening and engaging with professors and professionals the “old-fashioned” way.

  20. Mark Marino March 7, 2018 at 9:40 pm #

    With college campuses developing new ways of teaching such as online and hybrid courses, the use of technology in the classroom has been more now than ever. When someone walks into a university classroom, they may find some students using pen and paper, some with a tablet writing notes, and probably most typing away on their laptops. The classic pen and paper has been in classrooms for a very long time, probably the oldest way to take notes in a classroom. With the introduction of other forms of technology to take notes, students have truly benefitted in some way and have been steered the wrong way in others.
    One benefit of using a computer in the classroom is the advantage of neat and properly laid out notes. If someone is a sloppy writer or takes complex notes in a confusing way, one may benefit from using a laptop or another piece of technology to take more orderly notes. Another benefit for the use of technology is the ability for the computer or tablet to organize information better. The use of tables, auto-recognition software, and other programs can enable a user to effectively draw diagrams and form tables and graphs to implement into their notes. Another benefit that can be seen using technology in the classroom is students researching certain words or concepts that they may be confused with. I know especially in business law that if I am confused on a certain law or word I can go to Google and research the question I have. If used correctly, I believe technology is a great tool for the classroom.
    A downside for the use of technology in the classroom is the distraction factor that many researchers and even students complain about. Even from personal experience, I know the danger of the use of a laptop in the classroom. One can easily wander off onto the internet and get distracted while lecture is occurring. Another worry researchers have is that students are not recording what they type, lectures go from ears to fingers without much brain processing going on. On the other hand, using pen and paper, students seem to retain more information using this method as it requires more brain power from ears to hand. What many institutions use are firewalls to prevent students from accessing certain websites while on school property.

  21. Abeeda Razack March 9, 2018 at 8:58 pm #

    The advancements made to technology have certainly impacted individuals in today’s society, especially students. These improvements have enabled students to complete projects with great ease and efficiency using computers, smartphones and other devices instead of utilizing the traditional tools of learning. Laptops today are embedded with features which allow for new and improved methods of note-taking. Evernote and Google Drive are common note-taking software which utilize cloud computing to allow users to store their notes on the internet and be able to access them at any place or time from an internet compatible device. Because digital notes can be stored and backed up on the internet, the possibility of losing them is low, unlike paper notes. Students can also edit and share information with others as these tools integrate collaborative technology. Digital note-taking has become the preferred method of note-taking in today’s world, particularly in the classroom. Taking notes by hand can be time-consuming and exhausting on the hands. Taking notes electronically during lectures can save time that is useful for studying. In addition, digital note-taking allows students to index and organize material when studying. By typing keywords into search features, users are able to locate specific content within their notes in a jiffy. In addition, students who utilize digital note-taking have the ability to write papers with ease. Constant typing makes the writing process faster and it has been proven that students who utilize digital note-taking tools have tremendously increased their skills in writing. They are exposed to different tools such as spelling checks, grammar builders, and synonym finders, and therefore, have expanded their expertise in writing. In addition, the use of laptops in classrooms enable students to research on topics discussed in lectures. Students are provided with information that can potentially improve their level of understanding on the areas as they are being discussed. Students are therefore, able to participate in meaningful discussions with professors and other students. This activity is particularly important for building not only speaking skills, but also, builds confidence in the classroom. Moreover, students can access course content and other information provided on learning management systems such as Canvas and Blackboard, via laptops. I believe in saving the earth. I am not against printing and wasting resources. However, we have to be mindful of the fact that we are destroying trees in order to manufacture paper. Why print when we can access course related content on our laptops during lectures.
    There are many advantages of using laptops in classrooms. However, beside the fact that students often opt to access non-course related material during lectures, the constant use of laptops over long periods can deteriorate the eye sights of its users. This is especially the case of lectures that are a few hours long. Have you ever noticed that the majority of computer users wear eyeglasses? Computers assist students to complete assignments in a timely manner however, excessive use is detrimental to their health. Sore eyes, blurred visions and headaches are the common symptoms of computer vision syndrome. Laptop users should try to blink frequently, adjust the lighting on screens, as well as take breaks every fifteen minutes.

  22. Joe C. March 10, 2018 at 9:59 pm #

    When it comes to laptops in the classroom, I believe the cons outweigh the pros. For the pros, as this article mentions, the added benefits include having the ability to easily jot down notes, quickly research key points and having an endless digital domain at your fingertips. We all have been in a class and many of us have been distracted by the constant clacking at the keyboard by another student or the distracting bright & colorful screens that pull our attention away from the real reason that we are in that class – to learn. There are those also that will spend a good portion of the class on social media or some sports/entertainment websites, wasting away the class time and distracting those around them. Research has shown that students don’t learn as well, since they are “listening to hear” and “not listening to understand”. That is, they hear what is being said, which allows them to transfer that information to the keyboard, usually verbatim without a full understanding. This completely bypasses the thought process that allows the student to process and understand the material. How well is it going to serve you later on when you go to study if you really don’t understand the material in the first place? If the sole thought by the student is to take notes to later use that to study, I believe that you will have a much more difficult time fully understanding the material. On the other hand, if you listen, pay-attention and jot down notes, later on, that material will make much more sense to the student. It comes down to quality vs quantity; it’s not about how much you can type, it’s about how well you understand and retain that information. This is where longhand writing or taking notes comes in as a more practical application. I for one, have always chosen to take notes via pen/notepad over the laptop; for me personally, it’s a distraction to myself (as well as those around me) and I know that I do not retain as much information as I would if I listened to the lecture and jotted down notes – here and there.
    This very topic is just as bad (or sometimes worse) in a corporate/business meeting. Nearly every meeting that I have been in, someone has a laptop and the sheer number keeps growing. This I believe is far worse than the college student problem, because most people that I have observed are not taking notes or researching information about the meeting’s topic. Rather, they are glued to their emails, instant messengers or job duties. We spend so much of our work days attending meetings that it is really distracting us from getting our work done. This distraction in the meeting leads to less and less people paying attention or understanding the subject of the meeting. If your workday is only 8 hours, and the average meeting is an hour, the average person attends at least 2-3 meetings on any given day; this leads to very little time for most people to do their jobs or even do their jobs uninterrupted in a workday. The best reason that I can see people bringing laptops to a meeting are for collaborative meetings that require the sharing of data or other resources for that sole purpose. I believe we are seeing more and more laptops at meetings, because of habits that are formed through college learning that allows these devices in the classroom and other learning environments. We tend to listen and understand a lot less by these habits that we form early on.

  23. Kayla Washington March 30, 2018 at 11:53 am #

    In the past, laptops were a luxury item. However, as time and technology progressed, it can be seeming as a necessity for millions of people. For instance, it appears that nowadays, without a laptop, many students would struggle to complete assignments. The reason for that being is because there are a few classes where professors require their students to do classroom work online, and if you do not have a computer than you are likely to fall behind. With that, the increase of laptops being in the classroom as a requirement or not, can be a great distraction. You see, after reading this article, I agree that to an extent, students should not use laptops in class. In the same way, I also believe that students in college and even ordinary people in the business-corporate settings, should be mature enough to direct their focus on what’s appropriate when they have a laptop sitting in front of them. Moving forward, there are several reasons why laptops are helpful in the class and business setting and why they should be excluded in certain situations.

    To start, during a lecture, I have been guilty of observing my classroom to see what the students around me were doing. I have noticed that most of my peers would have their laptops. Some would be just typing away on assignments for other classes, and others messaging friends about plans for their weekend. Or, would even be watching the latest basketball game or reality TV show during class. For reasons like this, I like the idea of taking laptops out of the classroom because students more often are using these computers for recreational purposes instead of taking notes on the information the professor before us is providing. And, for those that use computers for actual notes to help them prepare for exams, I believe that students who write with pencil and paper instead of typing, memorize the given information better. In fact, it is stated in the article, Should Professors Ban Laptops? by Susan Payne Carter, Kyle Greenberg and Michael S. Walker, “…that allowing any computer usage in the classroom even with strict limitations reduces students’ average final-exam performance by roughly one-fifth of a standard deviation” (Carter, Greenberg, Walker 5). Additionally, instead of students using their critical thinking skills, they tend to take the easy way out by surfing the web in search for their classroom questions. By banning laptops, this would allow them to stretch their thinking instead of relying on the internet do it for them. On these grounds, I believe that laptops should be taken out of classrooms.

    However, while there is great evidence supporting the idea that laptops are not very beneficial to the school environment, there are very few instances where they are useful. For example, I know that my penmanship is legible, but I cannot say the same for peers, or even for past employers that I have worked with. By allowing laptops to write notes or complete assignments in meetings or lectures, professors and even employers won’t have to struggle to make out a person’s handwriting. Especially in a classroom setting, the idea to have laptops is supported when students say they can follow the class easier and take better notes. For instance, if a professor speaks too fast, the laptop will allow the student to be more efficient by just typing instead of handwriting information. In addition, depending on the population of the class or meeting, a laptop would be helpful if you could pull up the presentation on your computer and follow the material at your own pace. Ultimately, under these circumstances, I believe that adults, students or not, should be able to work with whatever style best works for them because we all do not learn the same way.


  24. Sydney V March 30, 2018 at 3:30 pm #

    Growing up in the age of technology, our generation sees technology as a basic necessity rather than a privilege. When professors ban laptops, our generation argues because we think it’s what we need. Laptops are beneficial because they enable us, as students, to pull up supporting materials, search topics we may be unsure of, and write down more of the lecture, than is possible with pen and paper. But while there are these many benefits to laptops in the classroom, they also bring access to social media sites, online stores, and other class work. But as a student who uses their laptop in class, I can attest that it is completely distracting. While I may be taking lecture notes, I usually have three other screens open, online shopping, finishing assignments for other classes, updating my calendar, etc. Personally, I believe laptops aren’t a necessity in class. I’ve found that in classes where my professors have banned laptops and electronic devices, that I don’t necessarily take more effective notes, but I am able to absorb and gain a better understanding of the material. We grew up in an age where technology was on the rise, now we are living in an age where it is everything. Having been exposed to pen an paper first, we thrive on the convenience of technology. However, we have never learned how to balance the benefits with the distractions. Now, generations as young as second grade are being provided laptops in their classroom. This will teach them how to properly use technology to their benefit, and it will be the norm for them. So, while I agree with Susan Dynarski about the cons of laptops in the classroom, I also believe that there are many benefits and we must be taught how to properly utilize them in order to benefit from their use .

  25. Brian Graziano April 6, 2018 at 2:55 pm #

    This article makes very direct, but valid points. As a current college student, I have noticed many students in every single one of my classes with a laptop in front of their face. The one difference between high school and college is that most high school’s prohibited use of laptops or any type of electronic in class. More often than not, at least half of every college student has a laptop in front of them during class. One valid point this article makes is that not every laptop is being used in the same way. I have personally seen many students during class lecture playing a game or texting on their laptop. Not only does this pose a distraction to students in the class, but it is also detrimental to the students learning. On the other hand, there are some college students who use laptops as an aid to note taking, because it is easier and more convenient. There should be nothing against students who are using their laptops for the right reason, but unfortunately most do not use it for this purpose. Professors in most situation can not see what that student may be looking at on their laptop. It is very easy and tempting to open up a new tab to check social media and/or text with friends. Current generation’s are addicted to the new technology and allowing laptops in class is only making the problem worse. The purpose of college is to teach students professionalism, as well as preparation for the job force. Professors should not allow laptop use in class, unless otherwise instructed. Prohibiting the use of laptops in class will promote better student participation, class discussion and topic engagement. Furthermore, class grades, and student knowledge of class topic’s will improve tremendously.

  26. Grace Galuppo April 13, 2018 at 6:15 pm #

    Technology can be a wonderful asset for professors to utilize while they teach and lecture their students. Note that I specifically said professors. I think that students should limit the use of laptops and other devices during class due to their negative effects. Susan Dynarski, the author of “Laptops Are Great. But Not During a Lecture or a Meeting”, an article posted by the New York Times says that she will not allow students to use their devices unless they have a disability. I agree with Dynarski’s claim that students who use laptops during class are distracting to others.
    In my senior year of high school, the board of education decided to distribute a Chromebook to each student from sixth to twelfth grade. I thought that the decision to give the Chromebooks sixth graders was irresponsible due to some students the lack of maturity. Additionally, students would often play games or online shop then engaging in class discussion. Personally, I get easily distracted when a person in front of me uses their laptop inappropriately during a lecture. Of course, I have used my school laptop to watch Netflix or check sales, but I have done it during my lunch break or times that were appropriate.
    Laptops do enhance the learning process for some students in the classroom, which is why I think laptops should not be completely banned. I think that laptops are useful for gathering information, however, too much time spend looking at a laptop screen could have negative effects. The study done at the United States Military Academy (West Point), where one class were banned from using electronics, the other where they could freely use their devices, and a third that could use tablets that were flat on their desks. The result of the study showed that the students in the classroom did substantially better than those allowed access to their electronic devices. West Point students need to earn a high GPA, a congressional letter, and the involvement of clubs and sports in high school. I have a brother in an ROTC program who looked into attending West Point and a friend who will be attending in the fall. Due to the effort and hard work students put into to attend West Point, it is obvious that they are not slackers. I gather that if this study were at another university the result of students who would do well would be devastatingly low.
    Although many students believe that note taking is more efficient when using a laptop, it is less valuable. Personally, I would rather use a pen and paper to take down notes than a laptop and type. I know that for me, I benefit from writing my notes out during a lecture and then rewriting them out later so that my notes are neat. Dynarski agrees and states in her article that students gain a better understanding from listening to lectures and condensing the material into notes. Overall, the evidence given in the article and my personal experience sway me to believe that laptops should be used when necessary in the classroom.

  27. Erica L. September 27, 2018 at 1:16 pm #

    In today’s world, laptops, iPads, tablets and other technology devices are very useful tools that can be used to do various things. I personally, can definitely relate to using laptops in a class setting. I believe it is much easier to take notes on a computer than it is by hand. However, with that being said, I am definitely guilty of getting side tracked looking at other things and doing other assignments on my computer while in class. I think this article makes some very valid points regarding students getting easily distracted while using technology.

    At this point in our college careers, we have to be responsible for our own actions. I personally think the best method for me to take notes, while in class, is on a computer. It is much more legible and organized which makes it easier to prepare and study for exams. In class, it is my responsibility to make sure I am paying attention and learning what the professor is teaching. I do not think the professor should have a say on whether or not students can use technology in class because some students may be better with taking notes on computers, iPads, or tablets. Also, I think the as long as the professor is giving us what we need for any assignments or exams it is our responsibility to pay attention to get that information.

    In conclusion, I think that the professor should not worry about what the student does when it comes to taking notes. Every student is different and some students do better with technology and some do better with paper. However, that decision has to be made by the student and I do not think that the professor should have a say in how that student prefers on learning. As long as the professor teaches the information it is the students responsibility to do what they need to do in order to achieve the grade they desire.

  28. Brendan Cortez October 5, 2018 at 9:22 pm #

    With technology and information systems becoming increasingly important in the workplace, I think it is crucial that students, especially in college, are given the opportunity to use laptops to learn and take notes if they wish to do so. In today’s contemporary workplace, being technology literate is not considered a unique skill anymore, rather, it is often listed as a required skill on job descriptions. Therefore, allowing students to utilize laptops during lectures in college provides an opportunity to become more acquainted with technology. Being born in generation where technology was just beginning to grow at an immense exponential rate, technology has not always been a tool that I have been able to use to help enhance my learning experience. In fact, I did not even own a laptop until my senior year in high school. My sister, who was born in the early 2000’s, has been given a school-issued laptop ever since she has entered the fourth grade. Although my sister and I have gone through the same school district, we have had very different experiences in relation to the use of technology in the classroom.

    As far as the usefulness of technology during college lectures, from my personal experience, I think laptops and tablets can serve as an effective means for taking notes, staying organized, and researching. For somebody who writes both sloppy and slow, having a laptop in class has been crucial for my note-taking skills, and has saved me the trouble of missing important information discussed in class. However, depending on the nature of the course, I have sometimes found laptops to be distracting and ineffective. For example, for classes that are computational-based, I am often confused as to why students are using technology when most of the class is comprised of working out problems from the textbook. But for lectured-based college courses, for the most part, I think the decision whether or not to use technology should rest on the students, not the professors. While I understand why some professors ban the use of technology during their lectures, it is crucial that these professors take into consideration that individuals learn and retain information differently. In fact, in a Wall Street Journal article, Jose Antonio Bowen discusses how “technology has increased students’ access to knowledge,” but more importantly, technology has increased the importance of “analysis” and “critical thinking” as there is a vast amount of information available on the internet ( Having a laptop that provides real-time information at my fingertips is crucial for my learning as I am able to quickly look-up concepts I am unfamiliar, which prevents me from falling behind in the classroom.

    While there is undoubtedly utility in being able to use technology during lectures, we cannot ignore the fact that these tools can be a distraction. Rather than utilizing technology as a guide in the classroom, I often see students get distracted where they are watching movies, on social media, or in some cases, doing work for other classes as discussed in the article. I think college is an essential time for students to learn how to discipline themselves and manage their time, so when I see professors go out of their way to discipline their students, I do not believe they are actually helping the student. If a college undergraduate wants to waste their money by not paying attention in class, then I think they should be free to do so. These poor decisions, in turn, will be reflected in their grades, and if the student desires a higher grade, then he or she will have to discipline themselves as part of a learning experience. In the article, Dynarski argues that a student who is distracted on their laptop can negatively affect the other students in the class. However, as a student, if I see somebody misusing their device in class, I simply remind myself that I should not somebody else’s poor decision affect my learning experience. Given that the next generation of college students will have grown up using technology in the classroom, I sure hope that professors who adhere to strict technology-free policies will reconsider its usefulness in enhancing the learning experience.

  29. Nick C October 16, 2018 at 12:44 pm #

    Students using laptops in class has become a controversial argument in the classroom environment. Laptops make it easier for students to take notes and to stay organized during a lecture. They allow the student to lookup whatever they want, when they want in class. However, laptops also make a distraction for the student. If the student owns a Macbook, they have the ability to use text messages on their laptop instead of their phone. In addition to this, the student could be distracted by videos or other things instead of taking notes.
    I personally prefer writing my notes out by hand instead of typing them up. When I write my notes, I can retain more information. This is because when I’m using my laptop I can get distracted by different notifications that I may be receiving. Some professors like students using their laptop because it saves them on paper and the professor can upload their files for the students to download. And on the other hand some professors don’t like students using their laptops because of the distraction that it causes.

  30. Jaden Tate October 30, 2018 at 9:13 am #

    Growing up in the age where technology is so prevalent it is hard to get away from such technologies. Laptops are one that is extremely hard to get away from in the high school and college years. Laptops are widely used in college and are becoming used more often in high school. I don’t understand why students feel the need to use laptops in high school when their classes are a lot shorter than those in college as well as the material does not call for the use of the computer. In high school, I took notes by pen and paper, and that carried on to college. While all of my friends use their laptops to take notes, I personally cannot because I know that I understand more when making the notes by hand. The studies taken by Princeton University as well as UCLA showed that “those who had used laptops had substantially worse understanding of the lecture, as measured by a standardized test, that those who did not” which from personal experience I believe it is true. At Seton Hall, they provide their students with laptops which in my opinion shows that they are encouraging their students to use the computers in the classroom. The only time that I use the laptop in the classrooms is when during my bio class I needed to draw something out, and it looked a lot better on the computer or when during English class it needed to be pulled out so we could type something. One thing that my sister found useful for her biology class which is held in a lecture hall is that instead of trying to keep up with her professor and type out the notes she found that if she goes in and just sits and listens through the lecture, she retains more. After just listening to the speech she goes home and takes handwritten notes of the PowerPoint that the teacher teaches off to make sure that she retained the maximum amount of material even after the class.
    Another thing that I have noticed in Seton Hall is that many professors have actually banned the use of electronics in class; this is what most teachers need to do. In banning laptops, teachers are better able to get the maximum amount of focus from their students as well as leaving out any possible distractions from their students. Laptops are such a problem in college especially in the classes that students believe they do not need or do not care about. On top of wasting $350 on a course now, the students are using the $250 laptop as a distraction which is wasting about $600 of their education. That is one thing that college students fail to put into perspective; when they come into class and spend their time not paying attention and being distracted on their computer, they are wasting money. All students should do a self-assessment and see which method allows them to retain the most information. Whether it is taking notes by pen and paper or if it is by taking notes on their laptop.

  31. Selena D October 30, 2018 at 2:09 pm #

    I have always preferred writing my notes by hand in class. First of all, I do not fully trust electronics. My laptop could die, could have an update, or take too long to function. The traditional way of taking notes is always the most reliable. My backpack is more light without my laptop and I can write all over my pages of notes with different pens and draw different diagrams. I do, however, see the benefits of taking notes with a laptop. It is quicker to type, you have a variety of sources available if you want to look something up and you can have an online textbook that can accompany you in class without carrying a physical book. But I have found that I understand my notes better when they were hand written.
    Laptops are a distraction in class. I have noticed this myself if I ever tried to take notes on my laptop. I feel the need to check my email or go on Facebook, meanwhile missing what my professor is saying that may be crucial information. There are plenty of things to click on to get distracted. Even when someone else is using their laptop around you it is distracting. The colors changing on the screen that are moving draw your eyes to it. Then you become a victim to the distraction even if you are writing by hand. The article calls this “visual pollution” that people are drawn to. The laptop distraction when taking notes reminds me of an article that discusses a cell phone being a distraction. You go on your phone to check your email and somehow you end up on Instagram. The solution to the cell phone addiction was to turn the phone to gray-scale. The apps on our phones distract us with the colors and patterns and convince us to click the apps when we are trying to be productive. Maybe a solution to laptop distractions is changing the color of the screen to gray-scale?

  32. John Skalski October 30, 2018 at 8:01 pm #

    After reading this article, I could understand most of the points that were being made but in the end, I was not able to say that I agree with them. In most of my classes, I find it easier and more effective to take notes on my laptop. Some of the exceptions to taking notes on my laptop that I have is if the situation really does not call for it, or if there is some kind of math involved. I personally find it a lot easier to do math with paper and pencil, rather than typing or drawing on a laptop. We live in the 21st century and a prominent part of it is the fact that we have the technology that we do. I personally never understood why professors would not allow students to use their laptops to take notes. I believe that it should be up to the student, not only because the student will know the best way for them when taking notes but also because that same student is spending a lot of money to get that education. I believe that if you are spending that kind of money that it should be your decision if you want to take notes on a laptop or not. I also understand that a lot of people will get distracted and maybe go away form taking notes and play a game or something of that nature, but that is the student’s decision and the professor should not care as much. I will not lie and I admit that I will get distracted on my laptop sometimes and do other things, but it does not mean that I am not learning the material that is being taught to me. One way that I find the laptops to be extremely effective in taking notes is when the professor shares their PowerPoint slides with you on the lesson that they are teaching for that day. You are able to take those notes and instead of just rewriting what is on the slides you can annotate them and put side notes next to the words on the slides to help you understand everything better. One thing that I used to always do when hand writing notes is just write whatever was on the slides and not add in what the professor adds. When I use a laptop, I am able to already have those notes written out in front of me and I can add what the professor says about each item on the slides. Overall, laptops have their pros and cons for taking notes but in the end, the professor needs to leave it up to the student on whether or not they want to use it or not because it is their education.

  33. Skylin Riedweg November 8, 2018 at 3:53 pm #

    I agree with the author’s suggestion that laptops are detrimental to student learning. It has always been easier for me to absorb information when I write it because I am a tactical learner. If I use my laptop to take notes, I don’t have the same freedom to organize my notes, draw models and graphs, and process the information I am writing which ends up in my receiving lower grades. In classes that I have used my laptop in, I find myself getting distracted by doing assignments for other classes or watching Netflix with the subtitles on. Even if I am not the one using my laptop, I get distracted. I often my find myself watching what people are doing on their laptops instead of paying attention the lecturer in front of me. However, I know that people learn differently and some have medical reasons for why they cannot write notes by hand. My mother has fibromyalgia and arthritis in her fingers. It’s easier for her to type than to write by hand because her hand is less contorted than it would be if she was holding a pencil. It increases her efficiency because it would take her twice as long to do her work if she did everything by hand. I think that how a student takes notes should be up to them. Although I know firsthand that is distracting to be around, we have to consider what is best for the individual as well.

  34. Aaliyah W. November 9, 2018 at 12:35 pm #

    College is the next step from high school and there is a huge difference between the two. In high school teachers push you to take down their PowerPoint notes with pen and pencil because it helps you understand the material better. I used to remember having pages and pages full of the PowerPoint notes that my teachers went over during class. In college there is more freedom to take your notes however you want, and the way lessons are taught are completely different. It is almost impossible to rely on PowerPoint notes anymore. We have professors that just speak throughout the whole class, expecting us to catch everything that they say. That is why at times students have their laptops out because it is easier to type, then write. But in most situations that is not the case. There is so much that students can do with a laptop nowadays and I have witnessed them all. Students are either playing games, watching shows/movies, doing work for other classes, are responding to their text messages on their MacBooks and laptops. This is all occurring as the teacher is going through their lesson, so how is it that they are “retaining” information and “learning”. I myself try to stay away from using technology in class unless it is necessary to do an assignment because writing down my notes physically allows me to retain information.

    This article goes further in depth about how laptops are not effective to students and I feel as though many professors and students need to hear that. One interesting fact I found out is that, the learning of the students seated next to the laptop users were also negatively affected. It never occurred to me that other students can affect my learning, just by being on their laptops. There might have been a few times when a student seated next to me was either playing a game or watching a show and I was distracted from the lesson by watching whatever they were doing. If teachers ban all electronics in class, it would be more effective for every student in the classroom, even for those who normally take their notes with pen and paper. During one of my semesters of college, I had a professor who did not allow any electronics. She did not want to see any phones, laptops, etc. I must say, I was able to get more work done for that class, I participated frequently in that class, and most importantly I was able to understand the material and retain the information.

    Overall, I believe that changes must be made in all classrooms for the knowledge of the students. Higher grades are bound to show up. It does not make it easier that technology is increasing because it only means that more technology will begin to be used everywhere, including more in classrooms than it already is. As long as we stick to old pen and paper, students like myself grades will improve.

  35. Arthur Herpreck November 9, 2018 at 12:59 pm #

    I am not surprised with the results of the tests they made on students that were using laptops during classes vs students that weren’t. I understand the teachers that forbids the use of computers and other electronic devices in class because the utilization that the student make of it is something that they can not control. So they have more impact when everybody is taking notes with a pen and paper. Even if it could be unfair for people that actually are making a good use of their laptops, it is the only way the teachers can be sure that the students are at least listening a little bit.
    The alternative to this problem could be integrating an online part to a physically presence class. I a firm believer that online classes will be almost everything in the future. But not everything because it will still be important to have face to face meetings. Say a teacher is teaching a class on Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 11 to 12, he could maybe also the students to have their computers and they would have to send their content on Thursday nights and instead of having class on Fridays the teacher would take this time to check the content, the outside sources, the connections and reflections that the students made. And this would be a part of the final grade. I don’t know if that is possible but it is still an idea on how teachers could kind of control what their students are doing when they use their laptops in class.

  36. Jessica Forsthoffer November 9, 2018 at 6:05 pm #

    I could not agree more with this article, laptops in classrooms are detrimental to learning. I have experienced this firsthand with myself, and with others. Because of the speed of typing and the ease of just watching words form on a page, taking notes on a laptop presents itself to be an easy method of note taking, making sure that you don’t miss anything. But what students don’t realize is that there is a disconnect between them and the material once they start to do that. Writing notes down has proven significantly more helpful for many reasons. For example, students who write down notes by hand have to summarize and put material into their own words in order to write fast enough and keep up. This means they are thinking about the material and processing it as writing, which is more helpful in the end. Typed notes end up looking like transcripts, and become the exact same thoughts and words that the professor presented, there is not comprehension, only a transcript. This happens because “taking notes by hand requires different types of cognitive processing than taking notes on a laptop”, and this changes how the material is learned. From my experience, taking notes on a laptop makes me feel like I’m not even present in the class. I am essentially transcribing the lecture, and that’s all. I typically would not look at those notes again, or refer to them for help with homework, because at that point they are words on a screen to me. I think all professors should ban laptops from their classes for note-taking purposes. Students will take these opportunities to sometimes even do other work for classes, or look things up on the internet and then they are completely detached from the discussion occurring in front of them. As stated in the article, this effects the students around them greatly, as they see one student on an irrelevant website, it makes them want to look at other things too. If professors banned laptops from classes, I believe they would see an improvement in grades because the students would be learning more without even realizing.

  37. Chris Vena November 9, 2018 at 6:26 pm #

    Using laptops and electronics during college classes can definitely negatively impact a student’s learning. From personal experience, when allowed to use a laptop in class I believe I am not always paying attention. Meanwhile in a classroom where the teacher sets a strict tone from the being and also bans electronics, I take good hand-written notes and I learn a lot. Even if using a laptop to take notes and not to be distracted, it is proven that people retain hand written notes better than notes taken electronically. When studying for a test I always hand write my study guides, so I retain the material better. Just like the article explains, sometimes one may find themselves just typing away and not realizing what they are writing. Despite all of this there is definitely a fine line here because as the world is technologically advancing, laptops are a part of our culture. As this continues it is going to be very difficult for teachers to determine if their students should be allowed to use electronics or not.

  38. Aaron R November 9, 2018 at 6:34 pm #

    I enjoy my laptop as much as the next student, and maybe a bit more than I should, but I agree with the premise that they should not but used in meetings or lectures. Being in a class or meeting should be about participating in the discussion and fully being engaged in your learning. Despite the few advantages that laptops offer, they are overwhelmed by the disadvantages that come as well. Often the argument for the use of electronics will be based on the individuals learning preferences though when in a meeting or class the use of a laptop not only affects your learning but that of your peers. On countless occasions, I have seen individuals watching shows and sports on laptops and their surrounding classmates quickly become occupied over the screen rather than what the teacher is saying.
    When being required to take notes on paper the student is often more inclined to commit to that task instead of veering off course as they would with electronics. This idea of “selection bias” that the author mentions shows that the usefulness of electronics is based on the individual and because of the variability should be limited. Also, retention rates from writing physical notes are higher than that of a laptop because of the conscious effort that is required. Writing down notes often requires the individuals to think about the material and choose the significant topics to write down as opposed to speeding through notes with ease on a keyboard. Students in areas where electronics have been removed often outperform those who do use items such as laptops and tablets.
    The overall takeaway is that even though laptops and other electronics can be useful by removing them the distractions are just not an option. If the distraction only limited the learning of the individual they are often old enough to make that conscious choice as the article stated. But in settings such as the classroom and meetings, the reality is that your distractions affect not only you but all of those around you and therefore should not be allowed. Electronics should be limited to situations where there use is mandatory or on situation-based needs to students who rely on the technology to be able to participate and engage in the class.

  39. Kent Flores November 9, 2018 at 6:40 pm #

    In the article “Laptops Are Great. But Not During a Lecture or a Meeting” by Susan Dynarski from the New York Times, introduces us to the pros of an electronic free learning setting. Susan Dynarski is a firm believer that electronics such as laptops, tablets, and phones should not be used in lectures or meetings. Her belief is that someone who uses an electronic device is more likely to not retain the information presented to him or her. Susan Dynarski also cites studies performed at the United States Military Academy, in which the lectures were divided into three groups. One lecture had a group with laptops, the second had tablets as long as they were faced down on the desk in order for the professor to see what they were doing, and the third lecture banned electronics. The result of this experiment turned out to be that “By the end of the semester, students in the classrooms with laptops or tablets had performed substantially worse than those in the sections where electronics were banned” (Dynarski). These results show that those who were exposed to electronic devices in a lecture, were more likely to score lower than those who had zero access to electronics. Some might argue that electronic devices help keep notes more structured and it is also easier to type up all the information rather than writing it down the old fashioned way with a pen and a piece of paper. Susan Dynarski thinks otherwise and I agree, we both believe that a student would retain more information through pen and paper, since the brain has to process what is being said in order to write down the least amount of information. When typing, many students can type up exactly what the teacher is saying, but not realize what they are saying. Even though I do not use pen and paper to take notes, I certainly do not use a laptop, and I have noticed that by just listening to what my professor is explaining, I am able to learn more and comprehend the message behind each topic. Everyone is different when it comes to learning, but I am certain that electronic devices does hinder learning performance.

  40. Michael Zera November 9, 2018 at 7:30 pm #

    Technology is growing by the day while students and professors are utilizing technological skills to help improve the learning process. In this article, the author critiques having laptops during lectures as stated students are not learning as shown from “a growing body of evidence.” Yes, there are many surveys that suggest technology supposedly affects students’ learning. However, in an age where technology is improving daily, eliminating technology in classrooms, specifically laptops, is going to be difficult, especially in lecture halls. I see why the author believes this as having laptops during a lecture may distract some students. Some students by be on their computer learning and taking the notes, and some may be playing games or not doing anything at all. However, that is not the technologies fault, as the students are the ones that are taking notes, not the laptop. At the end of the day, the students are the ones who go to school to et an education an learn. There are going to be many students who snooze off in class and do not pay attention at all. The author brings up “selection bias” as a reasoning that laptops should not be used in lecture halls. This should not be the case because I remember going to school with just paper and pen and I would still get distracted by either doodling in class or just staring at my paper. Either way students are going to divert their attention elsewhere if the material is boring making the student uninterested. Another fault I have that the author wrote was a cartoon image with the teacher saying, “…and you just type whatever I say without thinking.” I do not like how this picture is portraying laptops as the student types what the teacher is learning with no knowledge of what they are writing. Can’t one say the same thing with writing down lectures instead of typing. Also, when I write my lecture notes, I organize by notes with titles and bullet points allowing me to have an easier time when I must review my notes. I might be biased because my handwriting is not the best, but personally, myself and many other students find their way of learning easier when using a laptop to write notes. Although some people may not agree, I am just stating my previous knowledge and past experiences. If the student puts in the work, by either typing their notes or writing it out on a paper, they will succeed. Remember, the student is the one who is deciding their outcome, not the technology.

  41. Zach Towlen November 9, 2018 at 7:44 pm #

    From personal experience, I have always been pro pen and paper. I have never really brought my laptop to classes, unless it was required for my analytics courses. Notebooks are and have always been a good friend, until this semester where I have started taking notes on my laptop. The pros to using laptops in the classroom for note taking are the fact that you can type faster, ensuring everything the professor is covering is down on the document. As the study in this article shows, it is not best for us, as college students, to be doing this, as we write notes more succinctly down on paper. I haven’t seen much of a difference in my grades or studying styles since taking more notes on my laptop, so I can safely say this research does not include me.
    I find it beneficial to use a laptop in class for notes because everything can be stored with vast organization, weather it is in a local file or in Google Drive. It also can be easily transferable to other documents, other people for a study group and it has saved paper. The cons of keeping the laptop in class, would be as the research shows, there was a landslide in the sample the researchers chose for test scores. Applying more thought to this, it is easy to come up with reasons why these are the results. The internet is at our fingertips with laptops and we can always venture off into it during a lecture, finding anything that will steal attention away from a lecture. Also, for those who have Apple products that can link their imessages to their computers, texting can become very attractive to do while sitting through a lecture. I think more research should be completed on this with students across the country. It will be interesting to see if on a larger sample size, if the results still come out the same as they did when the researchers did their experiment.

  42. Douglas Tkac November 9, 2018 at 7:50 pm #

    This article is touchy for a number of reasons, especially since I can agree (and disagree) with some of these points that this article writer (in this case, Susan Dynarski) tries to make. Even though that Dynarski makes some great points and provides excellent research and studies, I cannot say that I completely agree with her completely on her stance on electronics in certain environments (such as the classroom).

    To start off, Dynarski does mention some great points and brings up some studies to showcase them, such as the studies done at York University and McMaster University (Canada). I found that I was able to relate to these studies firsthand, as I have caught myself slipping away from the material or the coursework that was being taught at the time, and might dabble into what my 3 fantasy football teams are looking like, or trying to see if my professor for my other class had already graded my midterm. Not only is that accurate, but I’ve seen this method of distraction distract me when I don’t even have a computer. The best method I have for this is comparing this computer screen watching is comparing it to second-hand smoking. Even though I might not be doing it directly, it is still preoccupying me and drawing enough attention that I do take a couple of seconds to marvel at how stupid that website is, or wondering why they are online shopping and what they are looking for.

    The fact of the matter though, is that not all students, nor classes, are alike and many prefer different styles, something that Dynarski fails to realize. For an English class, people might favor their laptops over other methods of taking notes, as they can pull up PDFs of certain writings to analyze at a click of the button. For math classes, some might prefer writing down the notes by hand, as it is much easier to write down certain functions by hand than to try and flail at doing so in a notes document. However, students will find their own ways of taking notes and will adapt to a way that helps them learn. It might take a class, a couple weeks, or even as long as a semester or two for someone to get comfortable with their own styles or recording notes and grasping the materials. But, for Dynarski to completely ban electronics from her classroom and to shift all of her students into a centralized method of recording and interpreting notes is too far-fetched and can be a hassle. Plenty of students love to follow along on their laptops, whether its through an online textbook or for those teachers who upload powerpoints, so for Dynarski (or any professor, for that matter), I think that this ban can and will have negative externalities for some students out there.

  43. Jack P November 9, 2018 at 9:10 pm #

    I do agree laptops could be a distraction in class, but I also believe they are the best way to take notes. I personally am trying to be as paperless as possible. In our world today we use way too much paper. If we all go to online notes on our computers we will limit our paper use as a country. The only problem with computers compared to a note book is the distractions that come with a computer. We can all admit that we drift off in class from time too time and a computer makes this much worse. With so many things to look up online, all the distractions are at your finger tips.

    One thing that could solve this major distractions but limit paper use could be the use of an electronic notepad which does not give you access to the internet for distractions. Students would be able to take notes in class and would be helping the environment at the same time. Overall, computers can be a great green alternative to paper note taking but pose a major distraction to people who can not stay at the task at hand 100% of the time.

  44. Melissa Joas November 9, 2018 at 10:27 pm #

    RE: Laptops are Great. But Not During a Lecture or a Meeting.

    The news that laptops are a distraction in the classroom is neither new nor surprising. I think it is great that Susan Dynarski does not allow the use of electronics in her classroom, and I wish that more teachers would ban them too. Every semester I wonder what the situation will be for each of my classes regarding laptop use. Some professors do not allow them at all. Some of them require that all students show up for class “prepared” with a laptop. Then there are the classrooms in which the use of a laptop is purely based on each student’s personal preference. Personally, I prefer not to bring mine because it adds weight and bulk to my bag and it could get stolen if I do not keep it within reach at all times. I am also very easily distracted, so it is a threat to my learning experience. In the classes that require the students to bring laptops, I find myself distracted trying to complete tasks on it and not really paying attention or learning because I am focusing on using it. In classrooms where the use of electronics is a student’s choice, I find myself looking at the screens on my classmates’ laptops or tablets. I am currently taking a class that falls in the latter category. Though the student who sits in front of me appears to be paying enough attention to know what is going on most of the time, he is never using his computer for purposes related to the course. During a recent class session, he was browsing a web site with jewelry. Because I collect gemstones, I was interested in what he was looking at and had a hard time not looking at his screen. To further distract me, it is not often that I see guys casually shopping for jewelry, so I was wondering what he was doing instead of listening to the lecture. It is a good thing that the instructor is good at keeping the attention of anyone who truly cares to listen, and I happen to be one of them. Several other people use their tablets and laptops during this class. A few of them have the same PowerPoint presentation open on their screens as the professor has on the projector. Several of them are watching sports games during class. At the very least, that is completely disrespectful.

    Dynarski has a short list of useful purposes for laptops in the classroom, including the ability to download course readings, quickly looking something up that is unfamiliar, and keeping well-organized lecture notes. I think that course material should be read prior to the start of class and that unless the reading is assigned during the class meeting there should be no need to download it during that time. If there is a point that needs to be clarified, asking about it might enhance the discussion. If it does not add value to the lecture, it is probably more appropriate to find the answers online outside of class time. Dynarski suggests typing hand-written notes later on to reinforce the points that were discussed and to create notes as organized as ones that were typed during lecture. I tend to find ways to remember things and skip note-taking almost completely in order to keep my attention on the class and absorb as much information as I can. I have gotten good at this – better than I am at note-taking, either by hand or on a computer. Even when I think that my attention was poor during a class, I realize that I retained a lot when it is time for an exam or a quiz. If it is allowed, I will record a lecture so that I can listen to it again while driving. Doing so makes me feel more relaxed about not taking notes so I can listen better.

    Dynarski says that laptops are a negative externality – “one person’s use of a laptop harms the learning of students around them”. I have found this to be true, at least for myself. Between the sparkly gemstones on one classmate’s screen and feeling incredulous about the audacity of the students watching sports during lecture, I have definitely missed a few points. She also says that laptops have a negative effect on what the students who use them learn. Using the same class as an example, I noticed that the students who are using their computers or tablets either for note-taking or game-watching ask the professor to repeat things so many times that there is a collective groan from the rest of us each time.

  45. Shegufta Tasneem March 29, 2019 at 12:29 am #

    There are both pros and cons to using laptops and other electronic devices in class. From my personal experience as a college student, I have often noticed students watching Netflix or youtube videos as the professor is discussing course materials or giving a lecture in class. Often times I see that these students are able to focus on both the videos playing on their laptop screens and the professor’s lecture at the same time. as they are staring at their screens, they also are listening to their professors and occasionally even asking questions. Although this may not seem like a problem because of this, it is still taking away a substantial amount of attention from the students which, if invested in the class lectures, would be much more productive. This might be a con to the use of laptops during class time. However, the pros are more important to be considered which is that our generation is simply more comfortable with technological devices than hard copies of books and papers. Our world is constantly evolving and becoming more and more a paperless one. Even I am more comfortable in taking notes on my laptop or even phone, at the absence of laptops as it makes me much more faster and smoother as well as it makes taking notes easier than writing it on paper. It helps us avoid random spelling mistakes and also saves us the time that we would take correcting it on paper. Again, it helps us keep the notes much more organized and neat than it would be on paper. This is a huge advantage of having laptops in front of us during lectures. With the new features provided by Microsoft Word, we can turn on the microphone on our laptops and it would simply read the lecture and type it down for us on a word doc. At this age of technological advancement, it simply doesn’t make sense to not allow students to use electronic devices during class. Yes. It has some disadvantages. But it makes the students more technologically literate and experienced which would eventually prepare them for the future that would be much more technologically obsessed.

  46. Deep Patel March 29, 2019 at 1:59 am #

    All across campuses in the United States laptops and other mobile devices, such as iPads and smartphones are increasingly appearing in classrooms. Many professors allow students to use their laptops in class as they believe it is an opportunity for more innovative learning and they think it is a way to increase student participation during lectures. Laptops enables students to take notes that are more detailed and more quicker than a piece of paper. I can relate as I can type quicker than I can write and taking notes on my laptop allows me to write down more information than I could with a pen and paper. Additionally, it makes everything neat and legible which is a bonus for me because I do not have the best handwriting. Laptops can also be used to access the internet for information that we do not understand during the lecture. Instead of wasting time to raise your hand and ask the professor what does that word mean, the student can just look it up and find out instantly what the definition is. Teachers can use laptops to advance students knowledge on research skills such as finding the right article for a paper or an assignment. Laptops and smart devices help students learn more than they would if they were just allowed to bring a pen and a notebook.
    However, there is also a disadvantage of having laptops in class and meetings. The distraction of the open internet can significantly impact student learning. I have seen on many occasions were students are pretending to take notes but instead are on social media, playing games, or watching movies or YouTube. I will be honest, I have played games through lectures because my laptop was a big distraction. People will pick and choose to which lectures they want to listen to and use their laptops to do whatever they want on lectures they do not care about. This is an obvious issue and students are not learning on the material that is being taught in class, instead they are too busy looking at social media or playing a game. The advantages of pen and paper is that there is no option but to listen to the lecture and take notes on what is being said. There will be no distractions of a laptop or games that can be played if it is available to the student. This article definitely makes me realize how much useful information a professor said to me that I have not received because I was too distracted from my laptop. However, there had been times where I have taken good notes on my device and used the valuable notes to study for tests. Therefore, there are advantages and disadvantages of using laptops in class or in meetings it just depends on how distracted the student or user gets by having one in front of them.

  47. Jada F March 29, 2019 at 1:29 pm #

    The use of electronics in classroom is something that is constantly being debated heavily. Rider University doesn’t have a set policy to determine whether or not it is allowed, however, they do have a policy that states that each professor can set their own policy when it comes to this. In classes that banned electronics completely, I found myself more engaged in the class. I would turn off my phone for the duration of the class and leave my laptop at home. No distractions. I would absorb a lot more of the material, and I would participate more in class discussions, (probably because I was actually paying attention). I feel as though, in these, classes I was able to take so much more away from the class at the end of all of it. Handwriting notes for me, also helps me remember things better. When I type it, it almost becomes mechanical – I don’t really think about WHAT I am typing, I just rush to copy it all down. I often times, find myself looking at my typed notes and writing them on paper anyway.
    I definitely agree with this article when they say that laptop use in lectures is beneficial because students can look up words that they are unsure of, and most times they can type faster than they write which means that they will be able to copy down more information. However, I also agree that laptops are a big distraction which may also prevent students from being engaged in the discussions and from copying down the material. In classes where professors allowed laptops, I found myself putting it to very good use sometimes, but other times, I found myself getting very easily distracted: shopping online, doing homework for other classes, etc. I realized at the end of the lecture that I had hardly listened and didn’t retain any information. I think that there is a solution that some schools could use when it comes to this. Some schools could try having laptops readily available for students to use that block social media pages, and game websites, etc. This would maybe deter students from getting distracted while trying to type notes. I realize that this is a huge cost factor so not every college could do this, however they could also set restrictions on the networks that wouldn’t allow students to go to websites such as this. Overall, I feel that the professors should be able to set policies when it comes to their classrooms and students shouldn’t argue it.
    If a professor chooses to allow students to bring their personal laptops, they could try to make sure students are engaged by walking around the classrooms more, but really it is up to the student.

  48. Demetri Allen March 29, 2019 at 6:27 pm #

    Susan’s article brings up some pretty interesting points about the implications of using laptops in class has. She does dive into the positive aspects laptops have in allowing students to access concepts faster or download certain information, but the over the consensus of this piece is to highlight the negative aspects laptops have in a classroom. Personally, I am on the fence on this topic. Most of my classes allow me to use my laptop and occasionally there have been times where I used it to goof off ultimately it has been a crucial aspect to some of my classes. In my English class all of our readings are digital so having a laptop in class helps immensely and in Business Law we are often encouraged to look up information we don’t know. We are moving into a more digital age and I feel like we should not be straying away from technology when soon society will be 100% based around it. On the flip side, Susan brings up multiple studies in which students that used their laptops performed poorly in class and retained less information which is understandable. However, for me, I have never been good with notes, I always take them down but copying them off a power point on paper is the exact same as typing them into a computer. I am just writing down what I see or hear as fast as I can and always playing catch up. I feel like regardless note taking is the same with or without it. Laptops can be very distracting but I honestly feel like with the rate we’re going it is better to stick with them than drop them entirely from our education system.

  49. Kayla Clavijo May 3, 2019 at 9:01 pm #

    Technology plays a vital role in enhancing the level of learning and instruction in the classroom. Based on the reading, there are many reaosns why laptops are great but not during a lecture or meeting. To begin with, there are numerous reasons why laptops should not be permitted in the classroom, Laptops make it very difficult for students to be creative in classroom activates. The students may find themselves becoming distracted from the lectures due to social networks and other entertaining computer programs. Laptops also prove to be huge distractions to the teacher due to the loud clicking of keyboard keys and the blank stare on the students faces while they type their notes. Considering both the pros and cons of the laptop in class, I think laptops should not be used by students because one of two things are going to happen. The student either takes advantage of the device and uses it to improve learning, or the student uses it as a distraction and a way to kill time in class. The silver lining in this is that the distracted students might learn from this misuse of the laptops by experiencing a slip in grades in their class participation. To continue, not only does the student on the laptop retain less of the lecture, but it also affects other students’ learning as well because other students will be distracted by what is on the laptop. Also, students can quickly look up an answer to a question the teacher asks. Sometimes you forget a term’s meaning too and don’t want to interrupt the professor, so you just Google it real fast and comprehend the lecture. This causes a distraction towards Professors and students as well. Some professors may not be comfortable with the use of laptops, because they rather students use critical thinking, however students would continue using their laptops to answer the questions being asked. Personally, I know I am better off without a laptop and prefer to learn with pen and paper during class. With the use of laptops during class, I know that I would eventually do some online shopping, play games, or even do work for another class. In this case, there is no possible way that the student is learning more than the student next to them that is using just a paper and pen to take their notes. For this reason, pen and paper is the best tools l I can take with me to class in order to keep me focused and give the professor who is lecturing my undivided attention.

    Overall, while some colleges and universities have allowed that each student bring their personal laptops with internet connectivity to class while others believe, including myself, they easily weaken the learning abilities of students instead of promoting and increasing learning in the classroom. The problem is that most students are doing things not related to academics. For this reason, I can agree with the issues proposed in this article. The use of laptops during lectures or meetings simply allows students to use the internet and do non-course related activities: check emails, play online games, visit social media networks such as Facebook, and instant message other friends inside and outside of their current classroom. Students performing non course related activities on their laptops distract their fellow classmates as well. A student who misuses their laptop hinders their own learning as well as the learning of peers who are using their laptops appropriately. A student watching a comedy and smiling can distract another classmates’ learning and the disrespect the professor who is struggling to teach. Although the use of laptops during a lecture or meeting is helpful for people, it can also cause distraction to others in the same room.

Leave a Reply