One of the readings this week, Leave Your Laptops at the Door to My Classroom, reminds one of my experience when I was an undergraduate student. I slept over a little bit for my class that day, so I left my apartment in rush. After my class in the morning, I realized that I forgot to bring my Iphone with me. I was a little bit anxious because I was not sure if someone sent me messages or called me. However, I had classes all day that day and wasn’t able to get my phone in the middle of the day. Then I had a one day’s experience to study without my phone. Surprisingly, I found myself more focused during the class and more efficient doing homework. Usually, I will check my phone when it notices me the emails, messages and all kinds of notifications. But since my phone was not with me anyway, I was able to 100% focus on learning.
Shortly after that, I heard stories that some students in my department don’t bring any electric devices everyday intently because they don’t want to be distracted by phones and laptops when they’re in the classroom and studying. From my personal experience, this practice is really a good way to help keep the students with instructors and get them involved in the class. However, there is a dilemma by doing so especially for class nowadays. A big issue here is computer/laptop has become a tool for teaching. For example, in our GEDI class, we pretty much use laptop every time we meet for group discussion and other practices. Some other classes rely even more heavily on laptops. But when instructors allow laptops in their classrooms, it’s really hard avoid distraction from it. Reading an email in the inbox probably only take one minute, but students can miss an important concept and get lost the rest of the class. Also, many students take notes on laptops nowadays because it’s just more convenient and easier.
So how to balance it out? I had a professor let the students use their laptops only when they are asked to, but close the laptop lid the rest of the class. Some professors also give students couple minutes during the class to check their phones and relax a little bit. These are all practice from professors to help students focus more on the class. But more importantly, the students should be aware of the distraction from electric devices and be willing to avoid that.