By Fiona Davis
With too much screen time outside of school already, it is time for students to shut down laptop note taking in class. From the excessive use of the Internet and Facebook to the annoying tapping sound of typing on keyboards, laptops are simply too distracting to have in the classroom environment.
Though students use laptops in class under the guise of note taking, students are often checking Facebook, Twitter, Stumble Upon, or other distracting sites while teachers are giving important information.
Furthermore, social networking sites have health risks to the brain as reported by Susan Greenfield, a professor of pharmacology at Oxford University. Oxford’s studies suggest links between too much Facebook and screen time in general with anti-social behavior and attention deficit disorder.
Many teachers threaten detention and loss of laptop privileges for misuse of computers in class, but teachers cannot know for sure what is minimized just behind a word document full of fake or old notes. A Georgetown University professor, David Cole, reported that since laptops were introduced into the classroom, the most frequent answer to his questions has been, “Can you repeat the question please?” Laptops clearly distract students in class. Due to their lack of attention, students do not get the valuable education they need to succeed on tests and later in life.
Laptops can even be distracting for other students besides the laptop user. Loud tapping from the keyboard, the light and reflection from the screen, and curiosity in what a laptop user is doing online are only a few of the unnecessary aspects of laptops that detract from the learning experience.
According to Kevin Yamamoto, a professor at South Texas College of Law, “reports on laptop bans have been positive. Students are more engaged and talkative in class and show an increased ability to reason.” The only way to stop the health risks of excessive screen time and refocus students on lectures in class is to forbid the use of laptops in class for any purpose. Smartphones are already banned with no ill effect. Now is the time to reboot and restart students on the path of focused learning during a critical educational period by prohibiting laptops in class.