Sunday, April 5, 2009

Laptop Use in Class-Distracting or Beneficial?

Increased campus wireless access to the Internet at the University of Colorado prompted discussion about laptop use in the classroom (Profs Grapple with Laptop Rules as CU Campus Goes Wireless - Boulder County Daily Camera, March 15, 2009). One student remarked about off-topic Web surfing being distracting and contacted her professor with a plea to restrict Internet use during class. Some professors banned laptops in lecture classes, while others require laptop users to be in the front seats. One clever professor matched laptop use with scores on the first test and 17 heavy laptop users were advised that they scored 11 percent worse than other students. According to the professor, after that alert only six students continued using their laptops and grades of laptop abstainers increased.

Discussion Questions:
  1. Is it a student's right to use a laptop during class, despite the possible distractions it presents to other students? Why or why not?
  2. Does the ability to search online to clarify a class discussion topic make the class presentation more interesting, because you can immediately add something from an online source? Why or why not?
  3. Can most students easily multi-task online during class and keep up with the professor? Why or why not?

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