Monday 13 October 2008

Laptops in the classroom redux

Jana McCreary from Florida Coastal law school has posted a paper entitled "The Laptop-Free Zone" to SSRN. The article reports and analyzes the data collected through a survey of almost 450 law school students at three different law schools regarding the students' views of laptops and reported distractions caused by laptops. Results? Apparently laptops in the classroom are more of a distraction to people who don't have laptops than to the ones who are using the laptops. The author notes one surprising finding: many students stopped using laptops in class after they had attended a class without one; once they had experienced NOT using a laptop in a law school classroom, they often changed their note-taking methods and reported improved learning & classroom experiences. This leads the author to suggest that instead of completely banning laptops, law professors should ban laptops for a week or two during the first semester so students can make an informed choice about how to take notes in class.

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