Best Practices for Laptops in College Classrooms
The use of laptops in the classroom has been somewhat controversial. Some say they distract students by encouraging multitasking and enable them to transcribe lectures without thinking about what is said. Others say students may be distracted with or without a laptop and copying information by hand takes attention away from the lecture. A laptop can be a useful tool if you use it in a way that supplements the topic of the class. If you make the most of your time, it can help you along.
The Laptop as a Classroom Tool
When in class, stay off Internet sites that don’t apply to the lecture or topic. If there are resources that supplement the concepts being taught, it can help you learn even more and make the most of the time. Computers in class are also great tools for keeping notes. You can jot down or record notes and then store them in the cloud. It’s also easier than ever before to share and compare notes with other people in the class.
Some professors are open to giving students breaks to review their notes. You can use this opportunity to look at the information you recorded and ask any questions it raises. Unless everything in the lecture is clear to you, don’t use this time to surf the web, check email, or look through a social media site.
Laptops Are More Versatile than Cellphones
Many people see cell phones in the classroom as distracting. It’s debatable whether they are more so than laptops, but the good thing is laptop has a larger screen to work with. Laptops are less restrictive and don’t promote habits such as texting. It’s also easier to multitask, as you can have different programs to keep notes and look up relevant information without struggling to find them on a small smartphone screen.
Maintain Self Discipline
If you are disciplined, then you can get more benefits from using a laptop. The computer can work to your advantage if taking handwritten notes is distracting. It can be easier to write down ideas, especially for class papers, as the instructor speaks and your mind starts to congeal the information. Keeping tabs on friends’ posts, surfing the web, or shopping will distract you from the lecture. Doing tasks related to school work will enhance your learning experience.
Learning at Pomona College can be supplemented with a laptop if you use it right. The machine is especially useful if you take UAB Online classes, as you can work everywhere you go. With the right habits, it’s more about following best practices for using laptops during a lecture, rather than being online to do things that distract you from learning.