≡ Menu
David Lee King

Law Professor Bans Laptops in Class



From this article… a professor has banned the use of laptops in her class. The article says “Professor June Entman says her main concern is that
students are so busy keyboarding they can’t think and analyze what
she’s telling them.”

Wow. Just wow. I have a question… those students are TAKING NOTES. But using a laptop to do the note-taking.

How in the world is typing one’s notes somehow different from using pen and paper to take notes? Is there really a difference, other than laptops might be a bit more noisy?

Compared to what her students just might be doing in the “real world” (as in, using a laptop to take notes, write reports on the go, etc, etc), I’d think the professor would welcome the use of laptops.

But that’s just me.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • http://walt.lishost.org/ walt

    While I think the professor is misguided, I can say from my own experience that, depending on your own mental processes, there is a difference. I tried taking notes during programs using a laptop at one point, and although I’m a high-speed touch typist, I found I was distracted: I wasn’t really “getting” the speech. On the other hand, handwriting notes doesn’t seem to interfere with “getting” it (although reading my own chicken-scratches later on is another issue).

    I would guess that this might be a legitimate generational difference: I didn’t start using a typewriter until junior high school, so it may not be sufficiently ingrained. People who grew up with computers might find them to be as non-distracting for notetaking as handwriting.

    I doubt that this is testable, in any case (you’d have to test recall and “knowledge”, with and without notes, and that’s tough to do). I think “that train has left the station” is the reasonable answer to the professor…

  • http://walt.lishost.org walt

    While I think the professor is misguided, I can say from my own experience that, depending on your own mental processes, there is a difference. I tried taking notes during programs using a laptop at one point, and although I’m a high-speed touch typist, I found I was distracted: I wasn’t really “getting” the speech. On the other hand, handwriting notes doesn’t seem to interfere with “getting” it (although reading my own chicken-scratches later on is another issue).

    I would guess that this might be a legitimate generational difference: I didn’t start using a typewriter until junior high school, so it may not be sufficiently ingrained. People who grew up with computers might find them to be as non-distracting for notetaking as handwriting.

    I doubt that this is testable, in any case (you’d have to test recall and “knowledge”, with and without notes, and that’s tough to do). I think “that train has left the station” is the reasonable answer to the professor…

  • http://www.bobpederen.net/wep2 Bob Pedersen

    Without taking sides, some folks who claim to know argue that typing has a different kind of relationship to thinking that handwriting does. Many folks who’ve gone the Tablet PC/digital ink route say they’re more creative writing than typing — I remember reading some hotshot saying that he did all his brainstorming with pen and paper (or stylus and tablet).

    Of course, the concern may be more about the students who are keyboarding away about matters having nothing to do with the class. :)

  • http://www.bobpederen.net/wep2 Bob Pedersen

    Without taking sides, some folks who claim to know argue that typing has a different kind of relationship to thinking that handwriting does. Many folks who’ve gone the Tablet PC/digital ink route say they’re more creative writing than typing — I remember reading some hotshot saying that he did all his brainstorming with pen and paper (or stylus and tablet).

    Of course, the concern may be more about the students who are keyboarding away about matters having nothing to do with the class. :)