What are the positives? What are the negatives?
An informal poll of students in a Fall 2011 FYP where laptop usage was essentially universal showed that those students found using their laptops beneficial for taking notes, viewing readings paperlessly, viewing the instructor’s presentation on their own device and pause on certain slides longer if necessary, looking up information they were unclear on without distracting the flow of class, and researching information that added to class discussions.
However, even they admitted that the potential distraction their devices provided was a risk; and for some, they admitted to compulsively checking their email or social media to the detriment of their learning.
How have you dealt with this dilemma?
Do you ban the use of laptops and other devices? Have you found ways to engage your students in ways they’re not tempted into distraction? Do you take time to discuss the appropriate use of technology in the classroom and the risks of not only distracting oneself but also one’s neighbors? Do you enforce closed-lid times during class when technology will not be used?
Reply below to let the Instruct community know how you’ve found student use of their laptops in the classroom beneficial and/or what strategies you’ve employed to minimize their distraction.