Ban Laptops in the Classroom!

Laptops are distractions. They are not as effective for note taking as pencil and paper. The mental activities involved in manual writing and thinking about what one writes are more effective in learning that punching keys on keyboard.

BanLaptopsRecently, Dartmouth professor Dan Rockmore wrote in the New Yorker’s website, “A colleague of mine in the department of computer science at Dartmouth recently sent an e-mail to all of us on the faculty. The subject line read: ‘Ban computers in the classroom?’ The note that followed was one sentence long: ‘I finally saw the light today and propose we ban the use of laptops in class.'”Rockmore says that he has banned laptops for years, because “any advantage that might be gained by having a machine at the ready, or available for the primary goal of taking notes, was negligible at best. … The act of typing, effectively turns the note-taker into a transcription zombie, while the imperfect recordings of the pencil-pusher reflect and excite a process of integration.” He points to researches – such as Cornell’s 2003 and the more recent studies done at Princeton and UCLA – which show repeatedly that students learn better when taking notes using pencil and paper.

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