All of us have experienced professors who include a section in their syllabus strictly for the use of electronics in class. Most of them say no cellphones in class, which I completely understand; however, on the topic of laptops and other note-taking electronics, some professors say students may use them in class, some specify when it is appropriate to use them and some say they are not allowed to be used at all. While I personally write my notes by hand, the ability to use electronics to take notes in class is a student’s right. For professors to prohibit the use of laptops for note taking is wrong, especially if taking notes using an electronic device is more beneficial for the student.
Many students would agree with me that there are multiple reasons why they should be able to type their notes in class. First off, people pay a lot of money for laptops or other electronics for school because they are absolutely necessary for completing certain assignments, as well as accessing emails and online course postings. Professors telling their students that they are not allowed to use their electronics in class is a waste because of how much money was spent on those electronics and students can’t even use them in class. The use of them should be for both in and out of class time.
Typing up notes is also beneficial because some students don’t have the best handwriting. If they take their notes by hand, it could be detrimental to them when they need to refer back to their notes and cannot make out what they say. Having the option of typing notes so that they can read them better in the future is not only beneficial, but necessary. Typing notes is also much faster than writing. Some professors move so quickly in class that, when I am writing notes, I am sometimes not able to get all of the information down. With the use of electronics, student are better able to keep up with the lecture and take down all the necessary information. As an added bonus, not only is the use of laptops for note taking beneficial for students, but it is also beneficial for the environment because it saves paper!
In-class electronics use can also be beneficial in ways that some professors may even enjoy adding to their curriculum. I have experienced some classes where online activities were used to help illustrate a lesson better. This is a great way for students to utilize their electronics in class, while still doing something academic. In this technological time, there are so many amazing websites and online applications that can really spice up a lecture or engage students more in the lessons.
There are obviously reasons as to why some professors choose to not allow students to use their electronics in class to take notes. The main reason being that professors know students will get distracted and start doing something other than taking notes on their laptops during class time. It’s valid for professors to think that this is happening, because let’s face it, a lot of students start texting friends on their Macs, or scrolling through social media feeds, or maybe even catching up on their latest binge show on Netflix. However, there are also those students who are interested in the course, and genuinely want to pay attention and take notes on their devices, so professors should not be taking that away from those students.
Ultimately, it’s the student’s choice to be distracted or choose to not pay attention and take notes on their laptops. It is understandable though that professors are concerned about this issue because they do want all of their students engaged and learning something from their courses. However, the solution for this issue should not be professors taking away the use of electronics in class completely because some students do benefit from the use of them. One solution to this issue that works very well is something that my current English professor established. She understands that technology is a large part of our lives, but she is also concerned with her students using their laptops for things other than class. Due to this, my class established a rule that we are allowed to use our electronics to take notes or access the online readings and websites needed during class, but when it is time to have a discussion or when we don’t need our laptops for the moment, my professor will tell us to put our screens down. This is a very effective way of managing the issue of students doing other things on their electronics during class, and I encourage other professors to try and utilize similar practices in their classes. It is beneficial for everyone.
Instead of fighting against the current trend of the popularity of electronics in our society today, professors should be taking advantage of this fact and working to utilize electronics in their classes more often. The use of laptops for note taking can be beneficial for professors in making their courses more successful and interactive as well.