Think of a time when you’re on campus and not surrounded by students on their laptops. It’s nearly impossible, isn’t it? Whether it is the classroom or the library, laptop use is rampant.
When it comes to the classroom, the question is whether laptops are a help or hurt learning. Studies have shown that students who use laptops in class perform worse on exams.
“Looking around, during the class, the people that are using laptops aren’t usually using them for school-related activities,” said Mike Yuknek ’18.
Classrooms can be full of students messaging each other from different buildings and crashing the Timberland website looking for the same pair of boots that everyone else on campus has.
Professors are not too keen on the whole idea of classroom laptop use either. The general consensus among students is that a lot of professors do not allow laptops because they are seen as distracting. With the “lids down” approach, professors can be assured that their students are at least looking in their direction, possibly learning as well.
This is not to say that the use of laptops should be banned from classrooms. Many students use their laptops to diligently take notes. “I like to follow along with the PowerPoints and take notes at my leisure,” said Skylar Althouse ’21.
Some professors are even riding the laptop bandwagon. “My professor promotes laptop use in the classroom to encourage students to look things up that have to do with the class discussion,” says Rory Houston ’19.
English professor Robert Duggan is also a proponent of laptop use. “Sure, it can be a distraction, but part of college is personal responsibility,” he said.
Perhaps the whole idea of using a laptop in the classroom is an experiment, or a learning experience in its own right. Learning to correctly use your laptop is almost like a rite of passage into adulthood. After all, the best learning comes from experience, and no student is going to learn the social norms of laptop use in a non-recreational environment if they aren’t allowed to use them from the beginning.