Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Laptops Banned from Law School Classroom

U.S.A. Today reports that a professor at the University of Memphis School of Library banned laptops from her classroom, telling students to come to class with paper and pen so that they could take notes: Students were predictably angry, and are circulating petitions to protest the ban. I see both sides of this issue. It is really disconcerting to have students using laptops during class for things that are totally unconnected with class. You can see the lack of engagement clearly written on their faces. It's particularly demoralizing when they start laughing and you haven't made a joke! Is the answer to ban laptops? Probably not, because then you curtail the use of technology in the classroom and the pedagogical benefits it can bring. In an ideal world, students would be so engaged in the class that they wouldn't want to IM, surf the Net, or order from L.L. Bean. I haven't figured out yet how to make my classes so interesting that every student attends every class and is totally engaged all the time.

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