Friday, February 8, 2008

Notebook Computer Use in Lecture

Wisdom received by e-mail from a student:
I was actually wondering if you would mind making a comment in class (or e-mail or whatever) about laptop use in class? I've found it really frustrating during a lot of our classes that classmates have been checking their facebook, e-mail, photos etc during class time. The scrolling and flashing on the screen is really distracting in my peripheral vision. It's so disrespectful, I just don't get it.
Again, Verbum sapienti satis est.


Seven Tense said...

Interesting comment, this. I must wonder, though, what its author recommends ought to be done. If he/she is hoping for the removal of all laptops from the classroom setting, I predict that she will be disappointed.

I offer up two valid arguments for this opinion: A) Laptops are an exceptional tool for storing vast quantities of data without consuming vast quantities of space, or paper; and B) For many people, typing one's own notes is vastly more efficient to hand-writing them.

As an aside, I make no attempt, now or ever, to discredit the fact that there are some metaphorical bad apples in the orchard of our class; however, I personally disagree that "scrolling and flashing" are intolerable distractions, since they just happen to be some of the most common occurrences elicited by laptops, even during the course of word-processing.

Andrew said...

seven tense: try sitting behind someone watching youtube videos all class and see if you find the "scrolling and flashing" effect to be equal to the distraction level caused by writing notes.

(hint: it isn't)

Talking isn't permitted in class because it's rude and distracting. Why should video watching and instant messaging be tolerated? Perhaps we could clean up our metaphorical orchard by tossing out a few bad apples. Or maybe we could toss some actual bad apples at the metaphorical bad apples. I usually pack a banana in my lunch, but I'm willing to switch for the benefit of the class.