Writing Studies I
November 12, 2018
Technology is Great!... Or is it?
Whether people want to avoid it or not, technology is making its way into our classrooms. More specifically, many students bring their laptops. However, not all teachers would agree that they should be used in their classes. Laptops should be allowed in classrooms because they help students to take notes (quickly and in an organized way), do various forms of group work, edit their writing. As well as finding important information and keeping important documents secured. Nonetheless, laptops have various amount of uses in the classroom that are helpful.
Without laptops, performing tasks in the work environment would be a difficult task. But there are some people who believe that laptops shouldn’t be used. In an article by The New York Times, it talks about the downsides of allowing students to use laptops. For one, they state that the laptops are a distraction. They did an analysis of students using their laptops(in York University and McMaster University in Canada). Results showed that the students without laptops, seated near students with laptops, were distracted and affected negatively. To counteract this negativity, the article says that students with a learning disability are within their right to use a laptop since it can add an advantage in learning. But, this article isn’t enough to show why laptops aren’t good for classes. In another article, by Huffington Post, it directly responds to the New York Times article. It responds directly towards the comment about disabled students and laptops. It talks about how this actually negatively affects the disabled students. The disabled students are easily made out to have a disability of some sort. This in turn “throws the disabled students under the bus”. To easily counteract this from happening, they state that laptops should just be allowed to be used in the class by any student. Because of this, no one would have to feel bad about using a laptop and feeling like they are handicapped.
Laptops help students take notes more quickly. For example, students tend to be required to take notes in their lecture hall. However, not all teachers or professors teach at the same pace. In order to avoid missing any information, students will resort to typing their notes into their laptops. And this is just one example. In the article, When You Talk About Banning Laptops, You Throw Disabled Students Under The Bus, multiple students talk about their classrooms and what benefits there are with using laptops. One student states that when their lecture starts getting into it, the pace begins to pick up. As a result, trying to do handwritten notes becomes a difficult task. However, by using the laptops, the student says, it makes it easier to be engaged in the lesson. The way it seems, if laptops aren’t utilized in classrooms, then it may make learning a more difficult task. In an Article by Seattlepi, they say, “Taking notes by hand can be time-consuming and taxing on your hands.” This goes to show another problem with handwritten notes. Since a student is constantly writing with their hands, they can fatigue and get cramps. As a result, the student starts to slow down their note taking, which shouldn’t happen in the middle of a class or lecture. But, if laptops are used in this instance, then there wouldn’t be much of an issue. Yes, students still use their hands to take notes. But the laptop takes the notes more quickly. They can take their notes without the risk of getting a cramp so early into the class.
Furthermore, laptops allow students to organize their notes easily and thoroughly in the document that they would be working on. The notes are in a document. If notes were to be written down on a piece of paper or notebook, there could be the risk of losing those notes. Whether you leave the notes in the class, or you accidentally throw away the note sheet. But, taking the notes down in a digital document lowers that chance of losing them, for example, using Google Docs. All the notes that you take would be saved automatically. The chance of losing the notes would be impossible unless you have a reason to delete the note sheet. But despite that, you still have your notes and your information.
Laptops can also help connect students to other people. For example, a student needs to speak to a teacher, but they don’t have the time. However, if they have a laptop, they can easily send their teacher an email. And they can explain their situation, or schedule a meeting with their teacher. This further shows how helpful using a laptop is. You don’t need to leave your room or home to speak with someone that may take only 10 minutes. Sending messages or emails makes it easy and convenient. The only issue that can come from this is a WiFi connection. But to be fair, anywhere you go nowadays, there’s always a hotspot.
Explaining how why laptops are helpful is good. But what good is a statement if there’s no proof? Luckily, the University of Michigan Center of Research performed tests to prove how useful laptops are. In an article by The Teaching Center, there are statistics for students and their affiliation with laptops. It gives some student perspectives on the situation. For example, Fisher(Author) states, “My laptop helped me to be engaged during lecture’ 60 percent of the LectureTool students(Study tool utilized during the process) and 39 percent of the students in the control group either agreed or strongly agreed.”(Fisher). Not just that, but 40 percent of the experiment group and 53 percent of the control group also agree that using a laptop helped them learn better. On the other hand, you can’t conduct a statistical experiment and just show the positives. In the article, it includes the percentage of students that disagreed that laptops didn’t help. 40 percent from the LectureTools group and 46 percent from the control group said that they couldn’t help but feel distracted while using laptops. Now there are negative effects following these experiments. Even so, this is just a singular group that stated laptops were distracting. The article continues by including stats about what students were doing on their laptops. 83 percent took notes, 81 percent sent emails, messaging was 68 percent, 43 surfing the web, and 25 playing games. Although some students performed tasks other than taking notes, there’s still a vast majority that actually took the notes. Whatever the case is, laptops are used mostly for educational purposes. Yes, students tend to veer off and do something other than class activities, but they still do their work. Not only that but maybe they’re surfing the web for extra class information. Or perhaps they’re writing a message or email to another professor for something important. Bottom line, the students are still focusing on the task at hand.
Laptops are an innovative piece of technology. Because of them, they’re able to help in classrooms. They help students with taking notes, doing group work, find important information regarding the class, and various other tasks. Laptops should be allowed in classrooms because it provides students with a broader sense of education. If laptops weren’t allowed in classrooms, then doing some of these activities would be more difficult.
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