Fort Hays State University has striven to be the front runner in technology. Incoming freshmen are encouraged to purchase laptops, and we have the luxury of a wireless campus. This is all fine and good and wonderful.
However, I have lately been plagued by the misfortune of sitting behind a fellow classmate surfing facebook while pretending to listen to the lecture. I am a typically diligent student, so you would think another student goofing off wouldn’t distract me, but it does … a lot. I find that I could be watching the person in front of me screwing around for a good 10 minutes before I even notice I have missed a chunk of the lecture.
I am all for laptops in the classroom, as long as they are used properly. I recently had a friend of mine complain about having his computer banned from the classroom and how he felt that this was unfair and hypocritical of a school that touts its technological advances. Of course he was making these compelling arguments while talking to me via facebook chat during class, which weakened his cause ever so slightly.
My argument is that five years ago when students took notes on pen and paper, the Earth didn’t go hurtling off its axis, so I doubt being forced to take notes on something other than a laptop in one class is going to hurt anybody. If a teacher feels like he or she can improve the learning environment by banning computers in the room, then they have every right to do so.
Just because we students pay for the class doesn’t give us the right to do whatever the heck we want within the confines of the classroom, not to mention, laptops can be distracting to other people other than the actual user. Once you begin intruding on someone else’s ability to learn, you are abusing your freedom and therefore should have that freedom taken away from you.
Next time you hear people complaining about having their laptop privileges taken away, ask them if they have ever used them for purposes other than note taking.
If they have, they have absolutely no right to complain – they are part of the problem. When people start using computers for what they are meant for in the classrooms, teachers will start being more reasonable with their policies.