Are laptops in college classroom a distraction

By Keith Boles - bio | email feedback

WALNUT RIDGE, AR (KAIT) - For most college students a laptop is as necessary as pen and paper maybe even more so. But some colleges have banned the small screens in classrooms while others leave it up to the teachers or department heads.

We visited with Williams Baptist College to hear their opinion on the matter.

Of course, not all classes are laptop compatible.

Assistant Professor Summer Deprow, "If the class is something like accounting or calculus where it would be terribly inefficient to type out equations or debits and credits then it would not be an appropriate use of technology."

Like a pen and paper a lot of people take notes on laptops during class. But with the Internet so accessible in just about every corner of the college, temptation is always there.

Deprow, "Many times they get a little distracted with Face Book and MySpace."

Seth Terry wasn't carrying his laptop today but he normally has it with him.

"I use it for taking notes and recording audio, but I'm not gonna lie sometimes I'm on the Internet and on Facebook."

At Williams the teacher has the final say so. DeProw says for her class it's conditional. If she catches you surfing the net, FaceBooking anything off subject.

"Then I'm going to ask you to close the lap top down and not bring it again, and other students in the class will also lose that same privilege."

Dr. Gary Gregory a Psychology teacher says unless the student has special needs. No laptops in his classroom. For the past 10 years he said, he's been pretty tolerant but finally enough was enough.

"I've just had to say you can't use them in my class because of the distraction, lack of respect."

Dr. Gregory says laptop users grades suffer as well.

"Those who use laptops regularly don't do as well on tests."

Terry, "Our religion teachers are not allowing us to have them so we can pay attention better."

Besides the laptop there is an alternative. It's about the size of a fountain pen.

Jason Shifflett has a Mac Book but he uses his digital pen a lot more, it can be used in classes where laptops fear to tread or aren't allowed.

"I have a pen and it records all my notes like a camera. Playback, Pause. If I tap right here it will start playing back audio at that exact moment."

Jason does have a laptop and he uses it in class...but.

"I also think that this new tool I have.I think it can be more efficient because it removes that distraction or temptation to surf the web in class."

Dr. Gregory says he will look into letting laptops back into his classes after this semester. ...Or not.

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