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Should laptops be banned in college classrooms?

Consumer Reports News: April 21, 2010 12:48 PM

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As more professors ban laptops in their lecture halls, here's some food for thought from Laura Mortkowitz at The Big Money:

As a culture, we’re at an odd crossroads regarding personal computers. For years, educators have been clamoring to put technology in the hands of young students through partnerships with big tech companies, best symbolized by the One Laptop Per Child initiative.

It turns out that one child’s educational tool is another child’s distraction—particularly when bored. There are Facebook and Twitter for the social-media enthusiasts, there’s ESPN for sports fans, there’s a Web site for any store you can think of for savvy shoppers, along with countless other avenues: eBay, YouTube, blogs of every flavor. No Internet? No problem. Solitaire, FreeCell, and Minesweeper are calling your name...

Those distractions have led to a mini-war on laptops in the classroom.

The article notes that the iPad, which can ostensibly be used to read text books, may be a cause of even greater confusion as professors won't know if their students are working or surfing.

Where do you stand?

—Nick K. Mandle

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