Recently in the Chronicle of Higher Education and Inside Higher Education there has been a vigorous discussion about laptops in class. Frequently instructors also consult with us about them too — can I ban them? should I? Are there ways that laptops can help my students?
There are three ways of thinking about student laptop use in class. Two of them take for granted that students using laptops are distracted from class itself. One side argues that professors should ban laptops because we are responsible for making sure our students get as much out of class as they possibly can. The other side argues that students have to be treated as already responsible adults; if they want to come to class and cyber slack that is their choice and they ought to be allowed to make it. The third way is that instructors have to be thoughtful about how and when students use laptops to make sure that students using laptops are actually more engaged in class.