Today, Justin Taylor has written a short post titled “Why Some Teachers are Banning Laptops from the Classroom.” In that post, he cites some criticisms of classroom laptop use from Baylor University professor Alan Jacobs. He also points to a longer essay on this topic that argues that handwritten notes are more profitable for learning than typed notes. Anti-laptop advocates believe they have science on their side on this one.
In the past couple of years, I have been in several conversations with Southeastern Seminary colleagues who have, or have considered, banning laptop use in their classrooms. While I have not imposed such a ban in my classes, I have to constantly keep students from answering emails and surfing the web while in class. This is a major irritation. At the same time, to be completely candid, as one who struggles with minor attention deficit issues, I would almost certainly be tempted to surf the web and answer emails in class if I was a student today.
Do you think professors should allow students to use laptops in the classroom? Or, should professors ban laptop use and require students to take handwritten notes? Is there some middle way? I would be particularly interested in hearing the thoughts of current Southeastern students and those who have graduated in the age of free WiFi from SEBTS or a similar school.