Op-ed: When it’s appropriate to use your laptop

(Photo: Google)

by CeLynn Siemons
edited by Bryce Johnson

Personal laptops and phones give you access to the web and all social media but they can be distracting for students and teachers.

Some professors are strict about allowing technology in class.

“In contrast with their heavy nonacademic internet use, students spent less than 5 minutes on average using the internet for class-related purposes,” according to the Scientific AmericanDisengaging in class conversations should be a prominent concern, considering students may be missing vital information that may be covered on tests or exams. 

This self-inflicted distraction comes at a cost, because students are spending up to one-third of valuable (and costly) class time zoned out, and sometimes causing lower grades, according to The Scientific American.

I believe that you need to be fully immersed into the class without the use of technology, unless advised by the professor or working on documents or research for the class. In one study done by the University of Michigan, 75 percent of students acknowledged that bringing their laptops to class increased the amount of time they spent on activities unrelated to learning, such as checking email and social networking, according to The Teaching Center.

Professors are at a crossroads whether to allow students to take notes online or on paper, in fear that those who go online will wander into other distractors. When entering syllabus week, professors should have a clear stand on the use of technology in their classroom environment to make students aware of the expectations.

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