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Professor argues: Ban laptops in classrooms




Students study with their laptop computers in the Pedagogical Library at the Freie Universitaet university on September 20, 2011 in Berlin, Germany. In the U.S., Professor Daniel Rockmore has made a case in the New Yorker towards banning the use of laptops in college classrooms.
Students study with their laptop computers in the Pedagogical Library at the Freie Universitaet university on September 20, 2011 in Berlin, Germany. In the U.S., Professor Daniel Rockmore has made a case in the New Yorker towards banning the use of laptops in college classrooms.
Sean Gallup/Getty Images

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In an era when school districts are spending millions of dollars to arm kids with iPads, some college professors are reverting to pen-and-pad-only classrooms. As Professor Daniel Rockmore argues in the New Yorker, "Institutions should certainly enable faculty to experiment with new technology, but should also approach all potential classroom intruders with a healthy dose of skepticism, and resist the impulse to always implement the new, trendy thing out of our fear of being left behind."

He cites studies from Cornell, Princeton and the University of California that compare test-performance of students who take notes with laptops against students writing by hand. The latter group had greater memory retention thanks to what Rockmore says "[reflects and excites] a process of integration, creating more textured and effective modes of recall." What do you think of Rockmore's "electronic etiquette policy?"

How do students react when asked to turn off their screens? How does the subject matter factor in to laptop policy? How does this apply in work environments?

Guest:

Daniel Rockmore, Chair, Department of Mathematics, Dartmouth College in New Hampshire; Rockmore wrote “The Case for Banning Laptops in the Classroom” for the New Yorker