I was glad to see that the comments covered a range of perspectives on the issue. What is your policy Chris?In general I've asked students to keep them closed, except when we are doing in-class writing or working in groups. In one of my classes, the students mounted an argument for their use and we changed the policy.When I've observed classes though, it's been easy to see from the back of the room that many students are checking Facebook and email rather than taking notes.
The laptop policy in my syllabus is that students can use laptops, but may only have word documents relevant to the class open. Most students choose to not have theirs out because they would be too tempted. All of my students will eventually compose their essays on their computers, so I don't mind them having their notes easily accessible. I figure the small percentage who abuse the policy probably wouldn't pay attention anyway.
I allow laptops. I teach English 1010 night classes down at Spanish Fork High, and I don't see more than 1-2 laptops a semester, often none. The high school doesn't give us access to their wifi, so that cuts down on distraction. But of course I still don't know what they're doing on their laptops...I have allowed students to use their laptops for in-class writing assignments and then e-mail me their work, which I then print out and add to the pile of everyone else's handwritten work for the night. This would become a pain, though, if it happened very often.I think they'll all end up with UVU-issued iPads within a few years anyway, for textbook access, so we may as well find ways to work with it. But I can see both sides of the issue.
I enjoyed the comments on the blog post. They really went into detail about what they believed. I can see both sides, but I also think it depends on the class. I don't require a lot of writing in class and the applications we do can easily be scribbled down on a piece of paper. The Allyn & Bacon text already has so much in it. It's not entirely necessary to take copious notes in class-we're applying what we're reading. I just prefer not to have them in class, and several students have expressed that they're grateful for it.
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