Saturday, April 5, 2014

Laptops in the classroom

I've finished my first week back to school, and one interesting thing to note is policy on laptops in the classrooms. There isn't any official school policy, as before. Also as before, various professors have different opinions on laptops.

One of my professors appears to have a love/hate relationship with laptops. One of the first things he made clear is that he's a bit hesitant about students using them during class. This is because he does not approve of people playing on Facebook when they should be paying attention to the lesson, since it distracts other students. (It will also distract Facebooker, but he didn't mention that. I guess he figured that if you're going to be so easily distracted that you'll be distracted with or without Facebook.) That said, he doesn't rule them out because people can use them legitly for taking notes. Also, we'll be getting all our readings via PDFs he's emailing us, and he'll let us read them on our laptops instead of printing them out if we really want to.

Another professor embraces laptops and smart phones, considering them valuable resources that can be used to answer random questions that may arise during class. (I've used my netbook for this in the past, and probably will again.) He didn't address the issue of no Facebook and no texting, interestingly. Maybe he just trusts his students to stay on track in class?

I don't recall my other two professors saying a word about laptops. Or phones, for that matter. Which is a bit odd now that I think about it, since I'm pretty sure phones were always mentioned on the first day of class in the past.

It'll be interesting, maybe ten years from now, to see if I can get a student to compare their own experiences to this post. I wonder how much will be the same and how much will be different.

For the record, I'm using a four year old little HP netbook for taking notes. Yes it's old, but I admit to being a tad attached to it, and it still runs decently.

Young woman with laptop


Debra She Who Seeks said...

The difference between high school and college/university is that in the latter, the students are adults and have the right to choose whether to apply themselves to their very expensive education or not. If they choose to fritter away the opportunity by playing on FB or texting instead of paying attention in class, that's their prerogative. For the same reason, attendance in monitored in high school but not college/university.

Madam Lost said...

One of my professors requires either a laptop or iPad during class so we can access course content. When I started my degree in the summer of 2012, there were standardized announcements for expectations and penalities for phone interruptions. Those quit about halfway into my program. Not sure if this reflects changes in phone usage (ie more business use of texting) or our status as seasoned students on our way to completing the program.

Sarita Rucker said...

Debra -- I agree that being forced to attend high school vs. having a choice about college (well, some young adults are forced by their parents or cultural expectations...) influence attitudes towards technology in the classroom. I can tell you though that attendance is noted at my university, and a minimum amount of attendance/participation is required. But that could be simply because we've got small enough classes that attendance is easily checked each class, and our education is mostly through discussion rather than lectures.

Mom -- I didn't know that one of your professors required that. I wonder if that's a difference between bachelors programs vs. grad programs. Then again, I think I remember reading about a college somewhere that required all its students have laptops... can't remember which that was...