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Why I Don’t Allow Laptops in Class

Why I Don’t Allow Laptops in Class


Hello, I’m Dr. Anadale. I teach philosophy at Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Maryland. I don’t allow laptops for note-taking in my classes except under extraordinary circumstances, and here’s why: Laptops are distraction machines. They divide the attention of the student and they negatively affect the student’s attention and comprehension of course material and the attention and comprehension of everybody around them. There’s a 2013 Canadian study that backs me up on this, a study that was published in the journal Computers & Education. I will put a link to articles about it in the description below. The study took a look at the effect of multitasking on student comprehension in the classroom. In one study students were asked to take notes on computers, and some of the students were further told to multitask, to complete a set of unrelated tasks while they had time during the class. What the study found was that in the final exam over the course material, the multitaskers had far worse test results than other students, and everybody around them had far worse test results than the other students. That is, multitasking on laptops in the classroom not only lowers the comprehension and the final score of the student doing the multitasking; it lowers the comprehension and final score of every student within eyeshot of their screen. And this is because laptops are distraction machines. This is one important reason that I don’t allow them in my classes. I prefer my students to take notes on pen and paper, which is better anyway for your comprehension and retention of material. That’s my comment for today. Thanks for watching; goodbye.

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