Clack clack clack!
Thursday, March 23, 2006 | Author: Mad Typist
The latest buzz in the blog world is about a law professor who banned laptops in her classroom. Far be it for me to let such an item pass without comment.

On the "con" side of banning laptops you have the students, who are up in arms. Frankly, it all sounds a little whiny to me. Check out this one blurb:
"If we continue without laptops, I'm out of here. I'm gone; I won't be able to keep up," said student Cory Winsett, who said his hand-written notes are incomplete and less organized.
Hmmm...let's see here. Sounds a little bit like, "I never learned proper shorthand or good note-taking techniques, so everyone else should kowtow to my desired method of transcription." Look, when I was in junior high school, they emphasized how to take good shorthand notes. I learned helpful abbreviations, formatting techniques, etc. And most importantly, I learned how to separate out important points on the fly. Note taking isn't about word-for-word transcription. It's about hitting the major points, to jog your memory later. The emphasis still should be on listening.

Can you see this guy in a trial? "Um, excuse me judge, but the prosecution is speaking too fast and I can't keep up with my notes. Tell him to slow down or let me use my clacky laptop." I don't think so.

If the student is so damn concerned that he's going to miss something, I'm positive that the professor would have no problem with him bringing in a tape recorder (or the digital type). Then he could concentrate on the lecture and transcribe it later in the comfort of his own room, using his damn laptop if he wants.

Frankly, I've been in classrooms with computers or laptops and it was awful. For me personally, it was just too tempting to zone out and surf the web. Plus, it was distracting, because my neighbor played Bejeweled all class long, so I had to listen to the incessant clicking of her mouse. It was like Chinese water torture after awhile. Even those students who were actually taking notes were really distracting, because I had to listen to the clacking of their keyboards.
The beauty of college is that you have a choice to be there. So if the laptop thing is SUCH a big deal, don't take the goddamn class. Transfer to a school where they let you use laptops all the time. If you have a such a severe learning disability that you absolutely must have one, I'm sure the professor can make a case-by-case determination. But most students don't need the damn thing and I think she's right to ban them.

Okay, enough for today. Off my soapbox and back to work.
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