Sixty students, 21 laptops… Today I decided to sit at the very back of my class and see just how many students use their laptops and for what reasons. Professors think they’re taking notes when some of them are surfing the web. It can be bothersome sitting behind someone who’s on Facebook when you’re trying to focus on the class.
I noticed that 15 out of the 21 classmates using laptops were taking notes, while six were online. However, some of those taking notes were also checking the Internet every now and then, looking at their Facebook page, checking their e-mails, or finishing an assignment for a different class. This can be quite distracting to people who are sitting near them. It doesn’t really make sense to me to attend class if you’re going to tune out and surf the web. I don’t think students are attending class for free Wi-Fi.
My own unscientific survey shows most people use laptops for note taking, but there are some who use it for personal reasons. It’s a lot easier for students to get away with messing around on their laptops than plugging in their iPods or texting friends. Maybe the fact that most professors post their PowerPoint’s on D2L dissuades some students from taking notes. Nonetheless, laptops can be a very useful academic tool as long as they’re not a distraction.
What do you think about laptops in class?