See CHE article “Best Practices for Laptops in the Classroom”
This was also the topic of a CTL lunch this spring at Penn.
The reasons faculty cited for banning laptops and similar devices from their classrooms: the lack of eye contact with students, the noise of typing (clickety clickety), concern about web surfing and what students were really looking at (one instructor got complaints from students that other students were viewing porn during class), concern about research on the negative cognitive effects of multi-tasking, students’ complaints that other students surfing the web and distracting them. One faculty member said, “It’s not their fault” and pointed out that web stuff is just too distracting, not only to students but to adults as well–students know they are being distracted, or distracting others; they want clear guidelines and expectations above all.
The ensuing discussion raised these questions:
What do we want/expect class notes to be like?
What is the mnemonic role of note-taking?
How might we use laptops imaginatively and actively (instead of letting students use them passively). Could all students together access material: online documents, archives, JSTOR?