The Case for Banning Laptops in Class (The New Yorker)


In a New Yorker opinion piece, Dartmouth’s Dan Rockmore discusses the reason he created an “electronic etiquette policy,” which bans the use of laptops during his classes.

Rockmore, a professor of mathematics and of computer science and the William H. Neukom 1964 Distinguished Professor of Computational Science, takes note of several studies that suggest that students who take notes by hand rather than on a laptop perform better on post-lecture quizzes.

“Among the most famous is a landmark Cornell University study from 2003 called ‘The Laptop and the Lecture,’ wherein half of a class was allowed unfettered access to their computers during a lecture while the other half was asked to keep their laptops closed,” he writes.

“The experiment showed that, regardless of the kind or duration of the computer use, the disconnected students performed better on a post-lecture quiz. The message of the study aligns pretty well with the evidence that multitasking degrades task performance across the board.’

Read the full opinion piece, published 6/6/14 by The New Yorker.

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