When They Bring Laptops to Class

I suggest students bring their laptop to class.  It is my hope that they will use it for class related purposes:

  • Taking notes
  • Working accounting problems on spreadsheets
  • Looking up information

In my Social Media, Blogging and Business class, all 22 students bring a computer to class, every day.  So do I.   I intend for students to use it for class related purposes.  They don’t.  The tell-tale signs?

  • Students tippy tapping away during class discussions
  • Someone laughing out loud while gaze is fixed on laptop screen
  • Lack of engagement with me
  • Admitting to spending 45% of class on non-class related computer use (yes, I asked them).

Have you seen this Doonsbury cartoon?

Something similar has happened in my class.

Students don’t use e-mail these days.  It is too slow, too boring and not social enough.  All my students are on Facebook.  Communication via Facebook is extremely satisfying.  Don’t know for sure, though, because students won’t friend me.  Perhaps they are afraid I’ll be able to check up on their in-class discussions (I wouldn’t).

I’ve been hypothesizing that this Facebook activity is all status updates, replies and chat.  Perhaps not.  There are other things to be accomplished via Facebook, as the following videos attest.  There is love, and there is poke.  Sometimes there is love and poke.

First, about love.  Tyler Ward sings “Facebook Lover.”

Meghean Warren & Jessica Campbell have a different “Facebook Lover.”

Now for poke.  What is poke, and what is poke for?  The poker sends a poke to a pokee, indicating that the pokee is being thought of.  What is the pokee to think?  Presumably that it is an act of affection.  But not always.  Facebook users now have poke wars.

Did you know a Facebook poke can send you to jail?

I’m too old school.  I use my finger poker for a different reason:

How do you use your laptop during class?  Leave a comment and let me know.

– – David Albrecht


Filed under Social Media, Student issues

3 responses to “When They Bring Laptops to Class

  1. It’s true, in our MBA Ideation class this last week, we were supposed to write down what a random word made us think of. The word was “classroom”. Three groups had Facebook, and everyone agreed.

    I’ve stopped using my laptop during class, personally, so that I can pay attention better. I don’t think professors _should_ let students use their laptops in the vain hope that it enhances learning. That’s some sort of academic self-deception. My vote is for no laptops.

    The only time I want to use a laptop is when I feel a professor is wasting my time. I’m trying to shed some cynicism.

  2. Allie Klug

    I only bring my laptop to Social Media, Blogging, and Business and that is mainly because you incorporate it into class. I don’t feel my laptop would have a great purpose in my other classes.

    My other professors have powerpoint slides that I print off before class to follow along with the lecture and take notes on. Another professor of mine requires the class to watch the lecture online before class and then he has us work on homework problems during class.

    I do like reading my classmate’s blogs during class and discussing them because that is the only time I get a chance to read them. I feel it is necessary to have our laptops for that class because of all the access to different social media it allows.

    It would be interesting to have a class discussion completely online somehow to see how much more the class participates. I’m not sure how that could be done though.

    • I wish we had a better wifi connection in class The time we tried to tweet together, we crashed the connection. I’ve talked with ITS, and they aren’t surprised we don’t overload the system more often. I would like to have an online discussion. Perhaps we can do that from different locations on campus.

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