More Data on Classroom Laptop Use

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5 Responses

  1. paean says:

    That’s putting it rather generously. Second- and third-year students are basically checked out and aren’t going to pay attention with or without laptops.

    Or it could reflect a situation where upperclass students, have already figured out what is required to do well on exams and that most of the classroom discussion can be safely ignored.

    As a student I greet laptop permissiveness with approval. I’m competing with my classmates for grades and a professor-imposed attention safety net is inappropriately rewarding students who cannot or will not pay attention by themselves. Professors are happy to remind us that we are adults when they are imposing obligations but are just as happy to infantilize students when it comes to classroom behavior. Students who have concentration problems are not going to become good attorneys.

  2. Howard Wasserman says:

    I need to read the paper, because I’m having trouble figuring out what the study establishes. If it is that students tune out at various points in class and tune in at others, that is going to be true regardless of laptops. Only the first point–about what students do when they tune out–seems to be laptop-specific.

  3. ippo punch says:

    As a slow hand-writer, laptops are a God send in class. I just don’t know why some professors hate them so much. A little Facebook in class never hurt anyone. And hey, at least they won’t have to worry about an emotional distress lawsuit like what happened to Prozac:

  4. PrometheeFeu says:

    This is very interesting, but it does not really say anything about laptops since that is invariant in the study. My guess would be that laptops would raise the level of distraction as the pull of temptation is stronger than simple daydreaming/doodling, but I would guess that effect is small. The incentives in the class are probably a much stronger factor. I am not sure how you could measure the level of distraction of a student without a laptop objectively.

  5. Tim R. says:

    I’d be interested to know how they determined if laptop use was related to the class. I’ll often look up cases or statutes on the internet during class – especially if it’s a statute-heavy class like Civ Pro or a class without a textbook.

    Additionally, for some classes, a lot of the readings are posted online (or available there), so I’ll use that rather than lugging a textbook around with me.