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Laptops in classrooms less useful, more nuisance

PHOTO COURTESY — BIT-TECH.NETYou’re sitting in class taking meticulous notes. Your ears are straining, your hand is cramping, and some guy in the row in front of you is frantically… playing games?

Your laptop–your mother probably thinks you’re taking notes with it. Everyone in your class knows you’re actually playing Robot Unicorn or IMing your friends.

Some professors require a written, legitimate reason for why a student needs a laptop for note-taking. This may seem preposterous, but one has to admit that professors have a point. Note-taking by hand has been done for centuries. Nowadays, we don’t even have to dip our quills in an ink bottle to keep up with our notes. Why the heck would we need a laptop?

Well, there’s the issue of efficiency. Most college students can type faster than they can write, which can be very useful when taking down lecture notes.

On the flipside, there are all the other capabilities of laptops. This ranges from a classic game of Solitaire (or, if you’re real bold, Spider Solitaire), to instant messaging, to surfing the web, or watching a movie. Between listening and taking notes on an art history lecture, or posting a Facebook status about all the phallic symbolism in art history, the more tempting choice is clear.

There was once a time when laptops were being encouraged in the classroom, even required in some classes. Now, we’re seeing a drastic shift in professors’ attitudes toward these portable computers.

The reason for this shift is very simple–the lack of responsibility. Is it responsible of a student to do everything on their laptop but take notes, as they should be? Not at all. Is it a heck of a lot more fun? You bet.

Another reason for this attitude change is for the rest of the students. There is nothing more frustrating than being determined to take down all the notes for a class, and finding one’s attention being diverted due to the quick shifting of a deck of cards in Solitaire or the dazzling rainbow tail of a robot unicorn.

If you’re willing to sacrifice your grade in a class because you want to play games, then go ahead. However, realize that in doing so, you may very well be threatening someone else’s grades with your tomfoolery.

Bringing a laptop to class may seem like a good idea, but if the temptation to avoid schoolwork is too great, then it isn’t the best idea. For the sake of others’ and that of yourself, leave your laptop in your room if you plan to do anything other than take notes.

After all, how would you feel if your grades fell simply because you felt that all your Facebook friends needed to know about Bernini’s not-so-discreet references to homoeroticism?

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