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. 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. 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."' Some students don't agree with the ban. A student wrote in the University of Denver's newspaper: 'The fact that some students misuse technology is no reason to ban it. After all, how many professors ban pens and notebooks after noticing students doodling in the margins?'"
We can found no scientific discipline, nor a healthy profession on the
technical mistakes of the Department of Defense and IBM.
-- Edsger Dijkstra