Laptops are not only a distraction to both teacher and student, they have also been shown to decrease the amount of information a student processes and how such knowledge can be delivered.
Imagine a teacher tells his students to begin taking notes, and throughout the lecture, the students are quiet, considerate and go on to ace the test. The success of these students is contributed to the fact that the classroom has a strict no-laptop policy.
In May 2016, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology conducted a study that involved students using laptops in class. According to their findings, students who used laptops had lower testing scores.
In addition to lowering test scores, laptops take away a student’s ability to focus. These electronics are known for bright lights, loud keyboards, and maintaining the user’s attention, which can lead to a downward spiral of distraction. A classroom, a place of inspired learning, is no place for such devices.
While students claim to be able to center their attention on both the teacher and the laptop in front of them, it is not possible. Humans are known for not being able to focus on two things at once. A prime example of this is distracted driving. The world sees far too much of how distracted driving yields to tragic results.
Another example of distraction, is distracted learning.
Teachers are often known to ask students for their undivided attention. “Eyes and ears, please,” is a saying that can be heard in classrooms across the world, and for good reason. A student should focus all of their five senses on what is important. In an educational environment, learning is most important, not the laptop.
When outside of the classroom, it is necessary to have the skills to engage in everyday activity or conversation without the use of electronics.
In a 2016 article in The Washington Post, California high school teacher Giles Scott wrote about why he doesn’t allow electronics, including laptops, in his classroom. Scott addressed teachers by saying that laptops don’t always need to be in constant rotation.
“Education’s task is, of course, to teach them how to safely negotiate this world, but it is also our task to provide them with alternatives,” Scott said. “They need a space away from digital technology.”
When the path of education ends, and it is time for a student to find a job, employers look past the skill of how to work a computer. Practices like eye contact and being able to hold a conversation far outweigh the importance of electronics.
Laptops should not be allowed in the classroom. With electronic-free learning zones, students can focus on the skills they will need for the real world and earn the grades to get them there, all while being distraction free.