The advent of technology in the classroom was a major breakthrough in the education sector. Use of laptops has indeed become one of the most celebrated achievements of the 21st century. By using internet connection, students are able to link up with what is referred to as Connected Learning Community or e-learning. Students are able to see what other colleges are offering for the same courses and can compare their notes with those of other colleges. Laptop use in classes has made easier to do researches as databases and libraries are available online.
Teacher can send class notes via computer and then students share those files thereby avoiding time wastage by reading them out so that students can take notes. Though laptops have a number of advantages, there has been a lot of complains from various lectures who say they interfere with normal learning in classrooms. In other words, instead of laptops promoting and enhancing learning they hinder it and it is for this reason that this research paper will focus on the reasons why laptop use in classroom should be banned completely.
There are few researches that have been done on the reasons why laptops should be banned and for this reason the available information is limited but the few that have been done show that laptops should not be used in classes in that they distract students from concentrating. According to one study, students experience uncontrollable and insatiable desires to surf the web while still in their classes something that compromises their concentration.
Students who go with their laptops in class always appear to be busy studying but the irony is that they are busy exploring the world via internet while they are supposed to be busy studying or listening to their instructors. It is not a surprise to see students playing online games, chatting with their friends, checking e-mails and replying to them, watching movies and listening to music during class time. It is due to these reasons that professors and other instructors are forced to ban laptop use in classrooms.
According to one professor, instead of students paying attention and contributing to debates held in class, they are busy taking notes and are turned into what this professor referred to as stenographers. There have been many complains coming from professors who are saying that they are now tired of seeing students browsing for pleasure, playing online games and chatting with their friends while their instructors are still in class (Khosrowpour 30). Though laptop facilitates learning, it cannot substitute the role that lectures and professors play.
There is no doubt that instructors are an integral part on education sectors and have spent much time in these institutions perhaps more than any one else and thus any issue that is raised by them should be given proper consideration. They understand better why these laptops should be banned (Mc Pherson 153). It has been established that lack of concentration in class due to laptop use is detrimental to the very goals of education and that is why professors cannot stand aside and assume nothing wrong is happening.
It is for this reason Mc Pherson (153), “Professors ban technology in classrooms and some turn off internet during instruction, while others struggle through lectures knowing that students are instant messaging, looking at photos, writing papers and playing games instead of focusing on teacher-relayed information. ” The aim of introducing laptops in class is to enhance learning but it is very painful to see students misusing the same technology instead of taking advantage of it. This has been likened to a situation whereby students are given guns to protect themselves from their enemies but then use them to shoot themselves.
This is because instead of using laptops as learning tools they turn them into entertainment gadgets where emails could be exchanged during class times, movies be watched and chatting be done while a lesson is in progress. If professors happen to establish that students are chatting without their knowledge, they lose self esteem and confidence in teaching as some students would crack jokes and forward funny pictures making others to laugh. This leaves the instructor confused because sometimes students could be seen smiling and laughing even though the teacher has said nothing weird or funny.
Some professors have pointed that laptops have made students lazy and do not help in making them understand lessons any better. One study that was done showed that students get to understand lessons better when they are writing notes on a piece of paper than when they are using laptops which turns them into stenographers. This is because, when you are using a pen you do not have to write everything instead, one understands what is being said and then writes only what is important the rest is purged.
The same study shown that writing notes on a piece of paper requires one to concentrate on what is being said and thus students become fully engaged in the lesson. Another reason why laptops should not be used in classrooms is that a lot of time is wasted in formatting the notes that are taken unlike when they are written on a piece of paper using a pen. When students are trying to format their work, they miss some important points something that makes laptop use to be a bad learning technique. To prove that allowing laptop to be used in class is a bad idea, an instructor only needs go round the classroom and see what students are doing.
It is surprising that students pretend to be busy listening to the lesson but they are busy doing other unrelated things. There are others who attend lessons just to show that their attendance is good but keep themselves busy doing other things. They wait for other students to make notes and then send copies to them. These students miss key points that they could have noted if they were taking notes for themselves as when one writes he/she understands the lesson better (Young). It is the same reasons that led to the Boston professors to restrict technology use in classrooms by switching off wireless internet signals during class time.
Another problem that is associated with laptop is that accessibility of the internet contrary to instructors’ expectations has indirectly killed students’ ingenuity (Gardner 1993: 16). Today students wait for their lectures and professors to give them assignments only to go online to look for the same and download. In fact, some students download papers and only change names and forward the way they are to their lecturers for marking. Contrary to this, students should download these materials and refer to other online sources to support their arguments and make their ideas solid but not to regurgitate other people’s work
Because of the entertaining nature of laptops, students’ attention is diverted and more or less they find themselves browsing and playing games instead of concentrating in class. Some websites such as My Space and Face Book have completely left some students obsessed and spend a lot of their valuable time on these websites something that makes them forget about their class work. Students feel like they are in a world of their own because they can link with their friends irrespective of their localities.
What makes a lesson productive is the instructor ability to make eye contact with students but this is not what happens when laptops are used in class because students block their faces with laptop’s flap and continue doing other things instead of concentrating. One cannot be surprised to find students reading online newspapers when an important lesson is underway and the problem is that the instructor cannot be able to tell who is concentrating and who is not unlike when one is reading a real newspaper because the teacher can see it from a distance (Environment 11-12).
Laptop use in class can cause more problems than benefits. Some school offer their exams online and when this is the case, students are given sometime to download exams and then internet connection is disconnected or the wireless internet is switched off something that paralyses the normal learning in the whole institution because other students who might be using internet cannot access it as there are no specific internet switches that are meant for particular classes.
It is the nature of man to follow short cuts and therefore students would be tempted to cheat unlike when exam is written on a piece of paper and it thus becomes hard for any exam to be fair if students have access to the internet and have their laptops with them as some files can be saved there for reference during exam time. Students also add their voice to the ban of laptop saying that it distracts them from concentrating in class.
Some students say they get tempted to check their mails and respond to chats even when their professor or instructor is in class (Gardner 1994: 369). It is true that laptop use in class distracts students from concentrating with their studies and thus they should not be allowed in class as they interfere with normal learning in class. On the other hand, there are those who see the move to ban laptop use in class as inappropriate but they should know that it is in the best of students interest that laptops be banned as they distractions them in class.
Technology has been introduced in class and tested for sometime but it has now been realized that students cannot be left to manage themselves as others are totally carried away by these machines to an extent that they cannot even concentrate in class. The only option now that is left is to ban them completely from being used in classrooms.
Gardner, J. Personal Portable Computers and the Curriculum. Edinburgh, Scottish Council for Research in Education. 1994. Gardner, J. The impact of high access to computers on learning.
Journal of Computer Assisted Learning. 1993. Vol. 9 (1) Young, Jeffrey R. The Fight for Classroom Attention: Professor vs. Laptop. 2006. Accessed from http://chronicle. com/free/v52/i39/39a02701. htm Environment: Piscataquis Community High School Study. Final Report, February 2004. Accessed from http://www. greatschoolspartnership. org/pdf/One-to- OneComputing_Report. pdf Khosrowpour, Mehdi. Cases on the human side of information technology. Idea Group Inc (IGI), 2006. McPherson, Tara. Digital Youth, Innovation, and the Unexpected. MIT Press, 2007.
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