Laptops: helpful and distracting

A 2009 survey reported more than 75 percent of Seton Hall faculty use technology and encourage it among their students, the Teaching Learning Technology Center said.

When asked about the survey, Director of TLTC Paul Fisher said teachers like to increase time on tasks outside the classroom in order to utilize valuable classroom time for more important topics. The laptops “help students engage material in new deeper ways,” Fisher said.

The battle between allowing and not allowing laptops in the classroom seems to be the question of whether they are a useful tool or a distraction.

Students have admitted laptops can be a major distraction in class.
“When (the professor) rambles, it helps, I just go on Facebook,” Dia Deangelis said about her experience in her philosophy class.

With Facebook and multitasking between assignments students are easily drawn to other things instead of paying attention. Many students said even sitting near other students who are on Facebook or surfing the web is a distraction.

Some professors say computers can be helpful for note taking.
“Students are more used to (note taking on laptops) than I am,” Marian Glenn, a biology professor, said. “I’d like to learn how to do it better.”

Glenn said although the technology can be beneficial to the class, she does not like to use PowerPoint slide shows because the dimming of the classroom lights to help see the screen makes it easier for students to drift off.

Other students feel there is too much emphasis on technology in the learning process. With many professors putting their lecture notes and PowerPoints on Blackboard, some students and professors acknowledge it may be seen as an excuse for students not to attend class.

“Why go to class and pay attention if it is going to be online,” sophomore Albin Wicki said.

Wicki also said in some classes the use of technology is “way over done.”

Fredline M’Cormack-Hale, assistant professor of the school of diplomacy and international relations, said she posts her PowerPoints on Blackboard after the class session so students attend class and participate.

Alexandra Lubischier can be reached at

Author: Staff Writer

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