Having attended ESU for about four years, I have noticed most professors seem unbothered by the use of laptops in classrooms.
They typically don’t question students who have laptops out and I have never noticed a sudden or particular lack of engagement from the class when students are allowed to use them.
However, there are still professors who include laptops in their classroom technology bans, which I’ve seen among the prohibiting of phones and tablets on syllabuses.
I have had two professors vocalize that they do not want to see any form of technology in the classroom.
Otherwise, the student would be asked to leave or is marked absent.
I believe banning laptop usage in class is regressive, especially as it is 2020.
There is the obvious risk of students opening another tab on their browsers to partake in activity unrelated to class.
This is the forefront concern of professors who do not allow students to use laptops in class.
There are also benefits to handwriting notes.
A 2014 Princeton study explored the benefits of handwriting notes over typed notes and discovered that the process of handwriting notes helps to solidify information in the brain.
According to Abby Stevens in Lexia, the prolonged time it takes to write notes leads to the comprehension of the presented material.
Students are then able to write more critical information in their notes.
Most professors who are against the use of laptops in classrooms reiterate these benefits and use them as justification for their protocol.
However, they do not outweigh the advantages of having access to laptops in class.
Students learn and digest information in different ways, so they should not be expected to adhere to or benefit from one particular form of learning.
Students should not be forced to comply with the ban simply because the professor thinks most students can do without laptops.
Professors who assume students don’t need them are excluding students with disabilities that may benefit from or even need laptops in class.
Technology is continuously evolving and the benefits it brings students should be enthusiastically welcomed and integrated by all campuses.
“Colleges, of all things, should be able to promote advancing ways of learning instead of stifling them and giving people no choice but to go back to old methods,” said Julia Taylor, senior.
“For example, I don’t use my laptop but I use my iPad to take notes since I always have trouble focusing. It’s so much quicker than writing it down. I can jot it all and then still have time to look at what they’re teaching before they move onto the next slide,” she said.
Having laptops in class also allows students who may struggle reading off of projector screens to access the same class content much closer to them.
I am one of these students.
During class activities that revolve around referring to or reading text up on the screen, I like to easily access that material on my laptop with no questions asked.
It is also generally helpful to have access to content while in class.
“With laptops, students can also add information onto slides from D2L to elaborate on stuff they need to remember or understand,” said Taylor.
Providing students with easy and versatile accessibility in class at all times shows considerable attentiveness on a professor’s part.
This accessibility allows students with disabilities to engage with the class in ways that work best for them.
I do understand wanting students to limit their usage of phones in the classroom, but there should be a line as to what measures a professor takes when attempting to prevent students from potentially getting distracted.
Banning laptops is crossing that line.
At the end of the day, students are still paying for the class.
Professors should accept the risk that comes with laptop usage in favor of the benefits it has.
Professors should strive to be as readily accommodating as possible, and should always consider students with disabilities when outlining their classroom policies.
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