Banning classroom laptop is a major mistake!


I am a different kind of college professor.

I am one of those Ph.Ds who take pride in leaving their office door open in order to invite students in for a great chat, work with students on real-world projects as a means to expose them to potential recruiters, and publish newspaper columns with the goal of having public conversations, like the one I am writing for you.

I am a trained scholar who has no room for nonsense, and will take action if required to advance the just cause. I am a caring guy who is vocal about what I believe. Didn’t you realize that already? I hope so.

Let me introduce you to one of the most heated discussions that is bringing much division into our complex field of education.

Two scholars — one from Princeton University and the other from the University of California in Los Angeles — are calling for a ban of laptops in the classroom because their latest research findings indicate that note-taking by pen works better for students than laptop note-taking. I find this recommendation disturbing because anyone who has spent a short time with a laptop knows that laptop note-taking is one of the many uses that a laptop offers to students.

I’m a bit skeptical about this idea of banning laptops altogether from the classroom, and for a number of other reasons.

Taking laptops out of the classroom will definitely handicap our students for careers this century. Can you imagine graduating college students who aren’t proficient and efficient with laptops for problem-solving? Give me a break! Banning laptops is a mistake.

Second, we need to maximize the use of adaptive technologies in our classrooms in order to provide instruction for students with disabilities. Many of the applications involving adaptive technologies are laptop-based. The modern-day student needs tools to remediate instruction and empower them to be outstanding. Laptops can do wonders about that.

I am not against technology as I have told you numerous times. All we have to do is to use technology in moderation.

Students have much to gain by using laptops in the classroom beyond typing. I cannot imagine my students without having a laptop in order to participate in the many scavenger-hunt activities I do in class.

By having a laptop in the classroom, students can fix photographs, create logos and websites, do balance sheets, you name it.  All that a professor needs to do is to incorporate the computer in whatever lesson plan he designs. It is that simple.

Controlling what I call “computer-based distraction” can be done. It isn’t that complicated, and it’s worth so much more than keystrokes. Let me tell you a secret. Please don’t tell anybody: One of the best ways to educate college students today is by creating solid relationships. Laptops can be used as a tool, as long as it is used in moderation, to build these relationships.

By the way, why are people so extreme in ideology these days? Don’t we, at least in spirit,  strive to elect officials in our great republic to find the reasonable middle group so that we all can enjoy the liberties of being an American?

Don’t ban laptops in the classroom. If you need help justifying the responsible use of computer technology in the classroom, give me a buzz. I would be more than glad to attend your board meeting and give the board the reasons why one-to-one computing is a good move overall for kids when implemented with discretion and moderation.

Laptops, along with great instructional design and lesson plans, can really help your kid to succeed in life.

The over-reliance on anything, especially laptops, is an issue that must be addressed immediately. My solution to this controversial contemporary discussion is technology moderation.

Teachers out there, listen to Dr. A! Don’t ban laptops in your classrooms. Students may take better notes with pens, but they have better chances to succeed in life by solving real-world problems with the machine when used reasonably.