The Washington Post published a wonderful article on Tuesday, March 9, 2010 discussing professors banning laptops from their classes:
Wide Web of diversions gets laptops evicted from lecture halls
While it may seem ironic (if not hypocritical) for a misoneist such as myself to be writing a blog entry, whether as a student or a teacher, I've always hated students having laptops in the classroom (unless the lesson dealt specifically with the technology). As the above article points out, it's too easy for students to be distracted. I can still remember my first semester, small section, Contracts class where a particularly annoying fellow student insisted on sitting in the front row where she would endlessly play Galaga or sometimes (believe it or not) Space Invaders on her computer for the rest of the class to see.
However, even when laptops are being used properly to diligently take notes, I find them still distracting: the peck, peck, peck of the keyboard keys can seem as loathsome, hideous, and grating as a Tell-Tale Heart! I for one (and speaking only for myself) can only hope that this is but the first salvo in a growing backlash against the invading kudzu of technology-for-the-sake-of-technology in education.
1 hour ago