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Students Are Better Off Without a Laptop In the Classroom (scientificamerican.com) 247

Cindi May writes via Scientific American about new research that "suggests that laptops do not enhance classroom learning, and in fact students would be better off leaving their laptops in the dorm during class." From the report: Although computer use during class may create the illusion of enhanced engagement with course content, it more often reflects engagement with social media, YouTube videos, instant messaging, and other nonacademic content. This self-inflicted distraction comes at a cost, as students are spending up to one-third of valuable (and costly) class time zoned out, and the longer they are online the more their grades tend to suffer. To understand how students are using computers during class and the impact it has on learning, Susan Ravizza and colleagues took the unique approach of asking students to voluntarily login to a proxy server at the start of each class, with the understanding that their internet use (including the sites they visited) would be tracked. Participants were required to login for at least half of the 15 class periods, though they were not required to use the internet in any way once they logged in to the server. Researchers were able to track the internet use and academic performance of 84 students across the semester.

participants spent almost 40 minutes out of every 100-minute class period using the internet for nonacademic purposes, including social media, checking email, shopping, reading the news, chatting, watching videos, and playing games. This nonacademic use was negatively associated with final exam scores, such that students with higher use tended to score lower on the exam. Social media sites were the most-frequently visited sites during class, and importantly these sites, along with online video sites, proved to be the most disruptive with respect to academic outcomes. In contrast with their heavy nonacademic internet use, students spent less than 5 minutes on average using the internet for class-related purposes (e.g., accessing the syllabus, reviewing course-related slides or supplemental materials, searching for content related to the lecture). Given the relatively small amount of time students spent on academic internet use, it is not surprising that academic internet use was unrelated to course performance. Thus students who brought their laptops to class to view online course-related materials did not actually spend much time doing so, and furthermore showed no benefit of having access to those materials in class.

Students Are Better Off Without a Laptop In the Classroom

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  • Strawman defeated (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mcmonkey ( 96054 ) on Wednesday July 12, 2017 @09:14AM (#54792901) Homepage

    Although computer use during class may create the illusion of enhanced engagement with course content, it more often reflects engagement with social media

    Other than businesses wanting to sell more laptop computers or students wanting to surf the web during class, who ever claimed computer use during a lecture or seminar would enhance engagement with course content?

    • by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Wednesday July 12, 2017 @09:18AM (#54792921)

      Other than businesses wanting to sell more laptop computers or students wanting to surf the web during class, who ever claimed computer use during a lecture or seminar would enhance engagement with course content?

      FAR too many people think it will help. In some cases it can but the problem is that people think these cases generalize more than they actually do. It's just a modern day version of letting students use a fancy calculator as a crutch to get answers rather than having to do the heavy lifting to actually learn from first principles and gain the intuition that results.

      Plus for too many students the computer is just a HUGE distraction. Why would a kid pay attention to a boring history or math class when they could be doing something fun on social media?

      • What's a "boring math class"?

        • What's a "boring math class"?

          It's a class where any maths is taught.

          • It's a class where any maths is taught.

            What is maths?

            I"ve heard of math, but never that apparent plural form of it....?

            I was about to assume it was a typo, but I've seen others use it....is it a common misuse like folks using loose instead of lose, or just a common typo?

            • It's a class where any maths is taught.

              What is maths?

              I"ve heard of math, but never that apparent plural form of it....?

              It is the shortened form of mathematics.

            • Yes, it's the plural because it ends in s. Of course it's an irregular one, since it doesn't have an apostrophe.

              Some unfortunate kids only get to study one economic, one physic and a lone solitary civic.

      • You could argue it prepares them for the modern workplace, where people have to learn to concentrate in the face of such distractions.

        At a company I ran a few years ago I put a piece of paper on the wall each day which told everyone exactly how much money we were burning every day, hour and minute to keep the place going. It really focussed people's minds on making every minute count.

        If a student is going to bring a computing device into a lecture maybe it should tell them, in real time, how much of t
        • by sjbe ( 173966 )

          You could argue it prepares them for the modern workplace, where people have to learn to concentrate in the face of such distractions.

          That only matters if you already know what you are doing and the goal isn't to master the subject material. Distracting students just results in poor quality learning.

          If a student is going to bring a computing device into a lecture maybe it should tell them, in real time, how much of their education loan each minute of messing around on facebook etc is costing them.

          Why would they give a shit? Especially children who aren't the ones paying anyway?

          • That only matters if you already know what you are doing and the goal isn't to master the subject material.

            If that's the case why are you turning up?

      • I would have liked one to take notes with...as that I type WAAAY faster than I can hand write....not to mention even I cannot read my own handwriting 30 minutes later, it's that bad.

        I'd think a computer that is NOT hooked up to wifi or cellular would be good for that....I'd not be good if it was hooked to the internet, as that I'd likely be goofing off like most of the folks in the study.

        Can they not block internet connectivity in the classrooms?

        • by sjbe ( 173966 )

          I would have liked one to take notes with...as that I type WAAAY faster than I can hand write....not to mention even I cannot read my own handwriting 30 minutes later, it's that bad.

          Pretty hard to type a diagram or a math equation.

          Can they not block internet connectivity in the classrooms?

          Nope. Even if they turn off wifi (which they wont) the students still can connect through a cell phone or cellular connection.

          • by Sigma 7 ( 266129 )

            Pretty hard to type a diagram or a math equation.

            In high-school tier, math equations are easy to type.

            In college tier, you probably should have a copy of Matlab, Mathematica or some other similar program that makes it easier to type those equations. If not, that's a case to have subsidized software infrastructure.

            In case of a diagram, there's MsPaint. Or if necessary, you can take said diagram from the textbook instead.

            • Are those quick enough? I tried once taking notes on a lappie and I couldn't do it fast enough, plus I was concentrating on the typing and not the meeting.

              Even with my idiosyncratic handwriting I'd rather scrawl & scribble then write it up neatly later.

            • In high-school tier, math equations are easy to type.

              You type derivatives and integrals? Not to mention geometry and trig. What kind of weak math were you taking in high school? And even the equations that are easy to type are generally still easier to write with a pen/stylus.

              In college tier, you probably should have a copy of Matlab, Mathematica or some other similar program that makes it easier to type those equations. If not, that's a case to have subsidized software infrastructure.

              Why would I buy a heavy duty program like that to take notes? It's faster and more helpful to do it on paper. There isn't a program I've ever seen that is as fast to write equations as a pen and paper. I'd love it if there were one but nobody has made it yet. Not even the curren

            • Your solution depends completely on how simplistic the math is that someone happens to be using. I worked in Matlab all of the time in grad school, and a lot of what my classmates and I did was come up with elaborate workarounds to implement the math we needed. There is plenty of math that you can't write in Matlab or Mathematica because they lack the symbols or the syntax.

              And that's not even counting more than one schema for representing a given mathematical concept. The math I used for my grad sc

        • by perpenso ( 1613749 ) on Wednesday July 12, 2017 @10:55AM (#54793569)
          Then, in a more slow fashion, write down only the important things, in summary, rather than try to create a verbatim transcript. :-) The act of paying enough attention so you can summarize helps in the learning process. The act of typing a verbatim transcript offers little learning, you can sort of zone out merely recognizing words without context and typing.
          • by arth1 ( 260657 )

            I believe that note taking is generally a bad thing. At least some brain power has to be diverted from paying attention into taking notes.
            And honestly, few students read their own notes.

            By all means, keep a notebook. But use it to note down questions to ask, and strike out the questions if answered later in the lesson. Write down a couple of keywords to look up later, as long as you have enough discipline to actually do it. In sciences classes, use the notebook to attempt to create and solve problems wi

            • I believe that note taking is generally a bad thing. At least some brain power has to be diverted from paying attention into taking notes.

              Note taking CAN be useful. It just usually isn't and most people do it very poorly. If the material in question is in your book, it's probably a waste of time. Annotate the book or handouts instead of transcribing.

              In my grad school they usually just handed out some notes before class which you could then annotate as needed. WAY more helpful than trying to transcribe the discussion. In medical schools they usually assign one person to take notes for the whole class and that person rotates so nobody has

            • I believe that note taking is generally a bad thing. At least some brain power has to be diverted from paying attention into taking notes. And honestly, few students read their own notes.

              Madness. It's been demonstrated that the act of writing down notes helps you to remember what you just heard. You don't transcribe the lecture, you note what the professor focuses on and write headlines.

              Few students read their own notes? How does one study without lecture notes?

              I found that the following study strategy worked really well in college:

              • Read the material before class. Read the whole book by the first exam if possible; easier than you think since the first few weeks are really slow.
              • Split s
      • Bizarre, isn't it? It's one of those things everybody knows is true even when it isn't.

        Because on the surface, I guess, it looks quite plausible.

    • Re:Strawman defeated (Score:5, Interesting)

      by El Cubano ( 631386 ) on Wednesday July 12, 2017 @09:24AM (#54792951)

      Other than businesses wanting to sell more laptop computers or students wanting to surf the web during class, who ever claimed computer use during a lecture or seminar would enhance engagement with course content?

      I am guessing that you don't teach or otherwise work in the education sector. Just off the top of my head, here are people or groups would have an incentive to make that claim:

      • Computer hardware/software makers (as you already pointed out)
      • Administrators at primary/secondary schools who want larger budgets (in government, bigger budget == more important/influential)
      • Colleges and universities who want to be perceived as leading edge
      • Makers of educational support software (e.g., Blackboard, Desire2Learn, etc.)
      • Textbook publishers trying to go the ebook route (remember, ebooks are nearly free to reproduce/distribute compared to dead tree books)
      • Parents who want to make themselves believe that because Johnny or Sally is using a computer in class they will get a better education and turn out smarter, more capable, etc.

      This whole "computers in the classroom" thing is probably the best example ever of the self licking ice cream cone or the solution in search of a problem.

    • Other than businesses wanting to sell more laptop computers or students wanting to surf the web during class, who ever claimed computer use during a lecture or seminar would enhance engagement with course content?

      I believe that Blackjack, code and hookers would enhance classroom learning. At least, I'll volunteer to try it out.

      In fact students would be better off leaving their laptops in the dorm during class

      In fact some students I knew would have been better off leaving themselves in the dorm during class.

    • by Luthair ( 847766 )
      Typing is a lot faster than writing, and you don't need to look at the screen. For me, I could never keep up with notes on the blackboard when writing so my focus would be attempting to take notes, not the lecture.
      • Rote typing is certainly faster, but how useful is it? Is your goal to gain a new copy of a textbook or to learn? To condense notes down to the point you can keep up with handwriting you have to actually engage and process the content.

        All through college I had access to a laptop and I still hand-wrote all my notes. My handwriting is illegible and I never read or studied those notes. Just the act of writing them down and having a spatial mapping to where/how I wrote it out on a page was enough to remembe

      • Why the need for speed? Typing a verbatim transcript of the class can be a somewhat mindless activity as one zones out and merely recognizes words without context and types them up. You might become a great typist but its a poor way to learn. However if you are paying enough attention to the lecture so that you can summarize and write down the important things you may learn a bit more.
        • Typing a verbatim transcript of the class can be a somewhat mindless activity as one zones out and merely recognizes words without context and types them up.

          Hence the old joke about a lecture being a method fro transferring words from the teacher's page to the student's, without passing through the brain of either.

          I'd like to know what GP is smoking. And where I can get some.

    • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

      So eliminate the distraction and you eliminate the problem. School laptops should switch over to dumb terminal state when they enter a classroom. Teachers monitors from the front, as each notebook logs in and reverts to dumb terminal state, only capable of doing what is required for that class. So the right reference material available, the right test or work assignment, to work on and the right class specific simulation to work with.

      Don't blame the notebook, blame schools that would allow children to carr

  • Start the noise! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ebonum ( 830686 ) on Wednesday July 12, 2017 @09:21AM (#54792933)

    I'm sure some billion dollar social media companies will be able to quietly cast doubt on these "absurd" and "backward" conclusions.

    • I'm sure some billion dollar social media companies will be able to quietly cast doubt on these "absurd" and "backward" conclusions.

      This would be like standing on top of the bar, ranting to a room full of drinkers about how alcohol is bad for you. This study was pointless. No one gives a shit anymore. Employers don't give a flying fuck about your cum laude standing. They're only looking to see if you managed to focus just enough to fucking graduate and can therefore check a box on an application.

  • I went through college in the early 2000s at a school where a laptop was required for school.

    I did terrible in classes where the teachers expected us to have our laptops. They'd do stuff with Maple, Mathematica, Maple, etc. I went back to keeping the laptop in my backpack and writing the code down along with a verbal description of what each line did.

    Transcription errors just forced me to RTFM (StackExchange was still 7 years from existence) and understand what each command actually did along with calling o

  • by Cimexus ( 1355033 ) on Wednesday July 12, 2017 @09:26AM (#54792961)

    Sounds to me like the problem is having an internet connection in class rather than laptops themselves, since the findings focus on time wasted on social media, shopping, other non-academic uses. I used a laptop in class in the late 90s/early 2000s for taking notes on, instead of on paper, but it wasn't really a distraction because there was no internet connection (Wifi wasn't ubiquitous in classrooms back then). It was just the way I took notes.

    • Nope, it's the laptop. I have distinct memories of playing Abe's Oddyssey throughout many a Physics 2 lecture. Contrast with Advanced Computer Architecture, which had me paying rapt attention with notebook and pencil.

  • by SmaryJerry ( 2759091 ) on Wednesday July 12, 2017 @09:30AM (#54792979)
    This is too obvious to former students. It's college though, like the real world if you don't put effort in and fail it is your own fault and your own money and time you are wasting, unless you are a socialist getting college for free.
  • .. a bowl of humboldt, now they're blaming computers?

    "This self-inflicted distraction comes at a cost, as students are spending up to one-third of valuable (and costly) class time zoned out,"

  • This Just In! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Notabadguy ( 961343 ) on Wednesday July 12, 2017 @09:40AM (#54793043)

    Students with self-discipline and an interest in academic success perform better than students without self-discipline!

    Here's an interesting anecdote as a West Point alumni - cadets all had computers starting in the very late 90s. In 2001, USMA switched from issuing towers to issuing laptops, which cadets took to class. The laptops took the place of hand-written notes (of which everyone was expected to keep volumes), and paper lab books (of which there were many - and costly).

    They worked fine. There was also disciplinary action if caught using your laptop during class for non-class related work. Then again, West Point is extremely academically rigorous, and you get kicked out if your GPA drops too low.

    Point being - half the kids in college are just there because that's what they were supposed to do next - they're not trying to better themselves, so given a chance to fuck around, they're going to entertain themselves. There's a lack of discipline. If people want to see college kids performing better at academic pursuits, then colleges are going to have to invest in some.

    • by Tomahawk ( 1343 )

      "Students with self-discipline and an interest in academic success perform better than students without self-discipline!"

      The article is mainly pointing out that laptops are a major form of distraction. So while your statement is quite obvious, the article point out that for those students (and more, very likely), laptops are a bad thing.

    • by swb ( 14022 )

      Point being - half the kids in college are just there because that's what they were supposed to do next - they're not trying to better themselves,

      That's the big problem -- college is just a stop on life's course where you collect the signal flag of a degree that says you should be hired for a job. Most people, even the "serious" students with professional degree destinations like medicine, dentistry or law, are just there for the vocational path and not because they care about learning anything.

      If we had some other way of providing vocational training to students for white collar jobs besides "college", we could probably cut out the people just slee

    • Point being - half the kids in college are just there because that's what they were supposed to do next - they're not trying to better themselves, so given a chance to fuck around, they're going to entertain themselves. There's a lack of discipline. If people want to see college kids performing better at academic pursuits, then colleges are going to have to invest in some.

      Yes. Full stop.

      If all of the middle-class-and-up kids without direction would stop clogging up colleges after high school and actually go get some real world experience, the educational landscape--and the job landscape--would be far better off. Some might return to college with a renewed drive and purpose, and others would never go and be 100% fine. Then again, that would require employers to stop expecting five years of experience for entry level jobs and do the work of finding and shaping young talent, b

    • It's okay to fuck around; important things are not taught in class-rooms.
      Computer-related addictions like social media and gaming are vastly underestimated.
      The only plus using a laptop is you can read your notes afterwards.
      As soon as you're able to prepare for class and identify importance of details the amount of notes you take is very limited anyway (or class material is lacking).
    • Students with self-discipline and an interest in academic success perform better than students without self-discipline!

      I wish I could mod you up higher than 5, as this seems to be the simple, self-evident fact that far too many people are missing. The laptop is just a tool, like pencil and paper (which are also used to waste time by those who possess low self-discipline). This is in the exact same vein as a poor craftsman blaming his tools for his bad work.

  • by XxtraLarGe ( 551297 ) on Wednesday July 12, 2017 @09:42AM (#54793051) Journal
    When I was studying computer science in school, most of our classes were in lecture halls, and you'd have a lab portion on a different day. I got a PowerBook for my last couple of years, and was able to type my notes, since I can type way faster than I can write., so it worked out pretty well for me. Of course, Facebook wasn't a thing yet, and I detested MySpace.

    Now that I'm teaching, we're in a classroom with computers. Since so many students just goof off on the computers during the lecture, I decided to start flipping my classroom. I record video lectures and then have them work on their labs & homework during class time. It has worked out pretty well, especially for the good students, and it removes some excuses for the bad students.
    • When I was studying computer science in school, most of our classes were in lecture halls, and you'd have a lab portion on a different day. I got a PowerBook for my last couple of years, and was able to type my notes, since I can type way faster than I can write., so it worked out pretty well for me. Of course, Facebook wasn't a thing yet, and I detested MySpace. Now that I'm teaching, we're in a classroom with computers. Since so many students just goof off on the computers during the lecture, I decided to start flipping my classroom. I record video lectures and then have them work on their labs & homework during class time. It has worked out pretty well, especially for the good students, and it removes some excuses for the bad students.

      I had a sleep disorder when I was in college and was completely unaware of it. Screwing around on my laptop kept me awake during lectures instead of asleep in my chair. I dare say that I learned more while distracted by the computer than I did when I slept through class. But my friends and I would just sit there and play around on party poker during class, we weren't getting into long drawn out conversations on facebook (which did not exist). One time I did wake up from a nap in class to look over the s

    • I don't have time to find the studies now, but writing notes is associated with much better content retention than typing notes. So, while a given student may have a stenographers record of the class, they a much less likely to be able to reproduce that on a test.
  • I can totally buy this, 100%. I was in the first class at my college required to buy laptops, in 1995. I can definitely say that even before Youtube or facebook, we were frequently websurfing or chatting with each other or playing little games during class. I think it was a good thing for us academically as we progressed that we reached classes that had not yet really attempted to integrate them into the curriculum and most of us stopped bothering to tote them around. (Well, and technology was progressi
    • The computer is an awesome tool, but the lecture hall didn't evolve to work with outside competition for students' attention - not surprising that a shift in the structure of something that has evolved over hundreds of years for a singular purpose has diminished its efficiency at achieving that purpose.

      Now, if we want to think about re-imagining the lecture hall with consideration of the computer as an available tool... what's the increase in efficiency of distribution of information for a professor sitting

  • learning. It is truly a sad reflection on the educational system, which everyone is compelled to attend thru high school, that only 76% knew that we declared independence from GB and even less (58%) knew it was 1776. The reaction to the NPR tweet of the declaration of independence on the 4th just defines the american education system. We are toast.

    • by ledow ( 319597 )

      Trivia is not learning. That's memorisation.

      Learning is acquiring a skill. Even the skill of memorising useless lists of historical facts, that's a skill. Learning how to do that (no matter what you choose to use it for - pokemon or random selective dates from history) is valuable.

      I have a degree. It's in Maths and Computer Science. I do not use maths in my daily life, or profession, beyond the mundane that everyone else does (e.g. adding up a budget). I do not apply advanced computer science principl

      • The core of who you are as a people is not trivia. Specifically understanding that you broke away from a monarchy and about how long ago, and how the country is constructed thru documents like the Declaration of Independence is NOT trivia. I'm sorry you don't know anything about the country of which you are a citizen.

  • Disagree (Score:2, Interesting)

    by CHK6 ( 583097 )
    I totally disagree 100%. This is an issue of out of date teachers, instructors, and lecturers inability to leverage a tool for greater engagement. Traditionally teachers only get a subset of feedback during instruction from those that raise their hands or are called out. Computers can force the interaction of students through in-class surveys and problems while class is going on. Want questions, have a feed where students post questions to that a teacher can choose from and address missed questions later on
  • [...] participants spent almost 40 minutes out of every 100-minute class period [...]

    There's your problem. You expect people to be able to sit still and learn things for one hour and 40 minutes at a time? And then go to another class and repeat that pattern? That's not how most people work. Lower those classes to one hour with 15 minutes breaks between classes and you'll see drastic changes in learning abilities.

    • Universities and health professionals are some of the worst at learning from studies carried out at by universities and medical researchers. They should study why this is.

  • by Tomahawk ( 1343 ) on Wednesday July 12, 2017 @10:08AM (#54793209) Homepage

    When I went back to do my Masters, I didn't use any technology in the classroom. Instead, I printed out a copy of all of the lecture notes (the lecturers made them all available to download) and brought them with me with a pencil. I was then able to follow the notes along with the lecturer and make any additional notes I needed in the margins, highlight passages, etc.

    I found this worked very well for me. I knew any sort of tech in my hand would lead me to being distracted (as it always the case when sent on courses for work), so I kept it simple and old school.

    Sometimes these ways are the best. Technology is great it many many areas of life, but there are some areas where the lack of it can be more beneficial - lectures being one.

    (One lecturer would actually tell anyone with a laptop or tablet out to put it away in their bags!)

    • I find when I am doing a complex task it's easiest to print it out and do the same kind of thing.
    • It depends on what you're learning. For most things, forcing yourself to write it down as you're listening to it reinforces what you've just heard. Your brain has to parse the sentence, rephrase it as shorthand, then repeat that shorthand phrase to itself as it guides your hand into writing it down. That instant triplicate review of the lecture material is much better for remembering and learning than just listening. On more complex abstract topics though, the act of taking notes can distract you from c
    • When I went back to do my Masters, I didn't use any technology in the classroom. Instead, I printed out a copy of all of the lecture notes (the lecturers made them all available to download) and brought them with me with a pencil. I was then able to follow the notes along with the lecturer and make any additional notes I needed in the margins, highlight passages, etc.

      I found this worked very well for me. I knew any sort of tech in my hand would lead me to being distracted (as it always the case when sent on courses for work), so I kept it simple and old school.

      Sometimes these ways are the best. Technology is great it many many areas of life, but there are some areas where the lack of it can be more beneficial - lectures being one.

      (One lecturer would actually tell anyone with a laptop or tablet out to put it away in their bags!)

      I'd just end up doodling, which is the pen and paper equivalent of Buzzfeed, I guess. Unfortunately for me, if the lecture was not engaging I simply did not have the discipline to stay focused.

      • My notes varied with the lecture. In easier areas my notes might be the date, and below that any homework assignment. In harder classes I might end up with a half dozen pages.

        Laptops mostly preclude decent sketches of visuals like waveforms, graphs, and equations that do not slow down a pencil and paper note taking style at all. Given that my engineering and math classes had a lot of those I just can't see how a laptop in most of my lectures would have been helpful for my learning style.

        I did find having

  • by Nite_Hawk ( 1304 ) on Wednesday July 12, 2017 @10:08AM (#54793215) Homepage

    Granted it's been well over a decade for me since college, but it's the same story with technical conferences and work meetings. Inevitably you will run into people who spend 60 minutes saying something that should take 5-10. Allowing the audience to bring a laptop to do other stuff when this happening is the socially acceptable solution we've come up with as a society to let the lecturer save face while letting the audience quietly stop listening to them.

    Perhaps it would be better in the long run if we were honest and just booed or walked out so lecturers were more forcefully encouraged to get better. I'm not sure it would really work that way though. It's already scary enough presenting in front of a lot of people. As it is, if you've got an audience full of people staring at their laptop instead of staring at you, it's them gently telling you that what you are saying is less important to them than whatever is on their screen.

    • by PPH ( 736903 )

      When I was a kid, we didn't have laptops to kill time during boring lectures. We had to draw pictures of cars and stuff [shutterstock.com] in our notebooks so the teacher would think we were taking notes.

  • by furry_wookie ( 8361 ) on Wednesday July 12, 2017 @10:18AM (#54793273)

    Frankly, I see ZERO use for students to have cellphones, laptops, or tablets in school.

    There is nothing they need to do that can not be done better with paper, and just having a few computers available in the room for research etc.

    Constant possession of devices is NOTHING but a huge distraction in the classroom and contributes to the sick addiction behaviors I see in nearly an entire generation.

    Not to mention that many schools put these devices in the hands of children and have no clue how to manage or police their use to only appropriate purposes.

    The rush to add tables,laptops etc into classrooms is one of the biggest mistakes in educational history.

    • The rush to add tables,laptops etc into classrooms is one of the biggest mistakes in educational history.

      The rush to add HFCS, antibiotics, growth hormones, etc. into our food supply is one of the biggest mistakes in medical history.

      In both examples provided here, someone is making a fucking obscene profit off those decisions, regardless of the overall impact.

      Just another case of the disease of Greed destroying ethics and morals. FUCK doing the right thing. It's all about doing the profitable thing.

  • asking students to voluntarily login to a proxy server at the start of each class,

    Let me guess, this proxy lets students on to sites they wouldn't have had access to if they were on the school's network instead.

  • So they leave their brain inside a plastic bag on a table before entering the classroom?
  • When computers 1st started, they were provided by the schools. They were only networks to themselves and using DOS. Used mainly to learn stuff like word processing and programming and other little things in labs. Today, they are bought by the students, they are networked to everything on the internet and mainly using Windows and Mac OS. I'll assume some schools put filters and other network restrictions but figure this is more or less accurate.

    I'm not saying that the old way was better. I recall some kid
  • Pretty much every class I took notes on OneNote along with a synced audio recording and photos of the whiteboard drawings.

    Personally I found my laptop to be invaluable for my college success.

    • Good luck taking notes with OneNote in any science field.
      • Well, not everyone is in a Science field. I was in an Engineering field so I had lots of math, physics, and a couple science classes though too. I don't really recall having much issue. Taking pictures of the whiteboard to insert into my OneNote helped a lot personally.

  • I love technology, but the classroom is better off with with pen and paper. Studies and personal experience show you don't learn well taking notes on a keyboard. Not even considering the distraction that comes along with tech like games and such. Naturally we should have computer skills classes with computers.
    • Not everyone learns with paper and pen. If I try to take notes on paper, I'm going to miss getting any information from anything that's said, I'll be concentrating on trying to get something on the paper, I'll be concentrating on my hand hurting, and I still won't have any useful notes, because my handwriting is, has always been, and always will be that bad.

      Having a laptop in class was the best thing that I ever did. I wish laptops had existed before I was in high school.

      Today? I'd turn on voice recognit

      • "Not everyone learns with paper and pen. "

        Dumbest statement ever. Nice job Potsy...
      • Not everyone learns with paper and pen.

        We have the last 1,000+ years of human learning as evidence to validate how false this statement truly is.

        Today? I'd turn on voice recognition for the notes, maybe even video the lecture, and sit back and concentrate on the information without having to even think about typing it.

        Today? You'll speak to the lawyer representing the person you wish to record, along with reviewing your student handbook regarding the rules of audio or video recordings. You should think about how consent and copyright laws work.

  • I remember more a few classes in high school and college that would have been better off without the teacher. Just leaving us the text book and materials would be better than subjecting us to the uncommunicative twat writing on the blackboard.

  • Nor smartphones, personal music players, handheld game consoles, and so on.
    What we need in schools are talented teachers.

    Also, as a sidebar: This is one area where so-called 'AI' will never do; humans need to teach young humans, ideally giving personalized attention where needed, to help them reach their intellectual potential.
    Someoine manages to map out how human brains are conscious, cognizant, reasoning, and so on, so we can build TRUE 'AI'? Then that might change. The current level of not-as-smart-
  • "Thus students who brought their laptops to class to view online course-related materials did not actually spend much time doing so, and furthermore showed no benefit of having access to those materials in class."

    That's a separate and interesting finding, that I wish were highlighted more. It's not just that students are using their laptops for non-class-related activities instead of learning, and then suffering academically (duh!), but that *even if* they have access to class-related content they still do

  • A statement like 'laptop in classroom is worse' implicitly treats all classes as alike, considers it a simple either/or matter, and disregards things like teaching children how best to make use if a laptop, and habits so as to avoid depending on them unnecessarily. Assuming away the complex nature of a real world problem makes for meaningless results, no matter how widely headline grabbing they are.

  • My college banned laptops in pretty much every class but core comp sci classes. It was the at the educator's discretion, but they all followed the same understanding. There were countless kids angry about it, trying to shift blame saying the content was dull, or their snowflake generation was better than every previous generation and they should be entrusted with more responsibility, claiming they could multi task better with laptops, etc.

    The reality was, we all took in way more information when we had to

  • This didn't need a study, a little common sense would have sufficed. Students who aren't invested in their own learning/future -distracted, disinterested or otherwise- will obviously not score well when tested on the material. Don't blame the laptops, blame the kids without focus dedication or self control.
    • RTFA:

      "Thus students who brought their laptops to class to view online course-related materials did not actually spend much time doing so, and

      furthermore showed no benefit of having access to those materials in class."
  • Humans just can't concentrate on a speaker for very long before their minds get bored and wander. As a communications channel, speech is slow compared to the rate at which we can process information. Even for dull folks.

    There are endless theories about how to adjust for this, but generally the answer is frequent breaks and practical work between brief lectures. Brief as in '15 minutes is pushing it quite a bit'.

    And of course you could always put institution-owned computers at the desks with limited softw

    • As opposed to all those other people who attended lectures before them without laptops and where able to concentrate and do well in the class. Moron.
      • >As opposed to all those other people who attended lectures before them without laptops and where able to concentrate and do well in the class. Moron.

        Distraction issues due to boredom predate computers in the classroom and have always been an issue with student's learning efficiency... computers give us something to keep us from returning focus to the lecture after we've already drifted away.

        If you were smarter, maybe you'd have been able to figure that out on your own instead of calling me a moron becau

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