Laptops are great, but not during class

By | December 5, 2017

Step into any college auditorium and you are likely to find a sea of students typing away at open, glowing laptops as the professor lectures. But you won’t see that when Susan Dynarski, a professor of education, public policy and economics, is teaching. In a recent article for the “The New York Times,” Dynarski claims she makes a few exceptions, but generally bans electronics, including laptops, in her classes and research seminars. She admits her practice might seem extreme and that there are some benefits that can come from the use of electronic devices in the area of teaching and learning. However, she believes that a growing body of evidence shows that over all, college students learn less when they use computers or tablets during lectures. “They also tend to earn worse grades,” she writes. “The research is unequivocal: Laptops distract from learning, both for users and for those around them. It’s not much of a leap to expect that electronics also undermine learning in high school classrooms or that they hurt productivity in meetings in all kinds of workplaces.”