Pickens writes "The Washington Post reports that professors have banned laptops from their classrooms at George Washington University, American University, the College of William and Mary and the University of Virginia, among many others compelling students to take notes the way their parents did: on paper. "This is like putting on every student's desk, when you walk into class, five different magazines, several television shows, some shopping opportunities and a phone, and saying, 'Look, if your mind wanders, feel free to pick any of these up and go with it,' " says David Cole at Georgetown Law who was among the first professors in the Washington region to ban laptops for most of his students. A generation ago, academia embraced the laptop as the most welcome classroom innovation since the ballpoint pen but during the past decade, it has evolved into a powerful distraction as wireless Internet connections tempt students away from note-typing to e-mail, blogs, YouTube videos, sports scores, even online gaming — all the diversions of a home computer beamed into the classroom to compete with the professor for the student's attention. Even when used as glorified typewriters, laptops can turn students into witless stenographers, typing a lecture verbatim without listening or understanding. "The breaking point for me was when I asked a student to comment on an issue, and he said, 'Wait a minute, I want to open my computer,' " says David Goldfrank, a Georgetown history professor. "And I told him, 'I don't want to know what's in your computer. I want to know what's in your head.' " Not all students agree with the ban. "The fact that some students misuse technology is no reason to ban it," writes Leslie Gehring in the student newspaper at the University of Denver. "After all, how many professors ban pens and notebooks after noticing students doodling in the margins?""