This is the most ridiculous thing I can think of?! My cousin is a Sophmore in a private California university and was telling me tonight that
her teachers allow an ipad in the classroom, but no laptops.
Just looking for a photo for this post, I found a professor's blog post on why he doesn't allow laptops in the classroom, granted, this post is from 2008 and discussing instant messaging. I don't know if I've just lived in Silicon Valley too long, but I can't even begin to wrap my head around how a teacher could consider not allowing lap tops in the classroom today... a few weeks from 2012! I have a (very slight) amount of empathy for the professor that wrote this post about keeping his students engaged, in the moment and clearly see the value of making sure students are participating rather than partial classroom listeners. Unfortunately, even just a few years later, the reality of today's job market requires recent graduates to understand digital attention balance with fast and nimble notes (and yes, sometimes public notes).
What value could you possibly be bringing to students by outlawing laptops? The only thing I can think of is "helping" students "pay attention" to what is happening in the classroom. Students need to understand what appropriate time on Facebook is as opposed to being online and commenting on every friend's Facebook photo within minutes. The modern workforce is dealing with the reality of Facebook's constant presence as employees are at their computers all day, guess what is always looming... Facebook. If students don't understand the balance of being on Facebook and what things they need to be paying attention to durring class, how can they understand the balance of social platforms while they are at work?
Most importantly, however, regardless of whether students are appropriately managing their attention in the classroom, is the need for skill sets in listening and typing at the same time. I have to realize with my work I may be on the edge of these specific skill set needs, but I can't help but think of how I'm constantly in meetings where if I type notes I get twice as much done compared to when I hand write notes and type them later. This requires a specific skill set it to be actively listening to a conversation and at the same time taking notes and summarizing what is being discsused.
I see the skill set of live tweeting (live public note taking), or even simply private live note taking (with a keyboard) as increasingly needed for efficiency. So teachers, if you're not sure about why live tweeting is an important skill set, please, at the very least, cosnider the fact that your students don't have less distractions with an ipad or their phones than they do with their laptops.