Banning laptops from lectures

March 15, 2010
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Could you survive law school without using your laptop in class? There’s a push by some professors to ban laptops from class because they are distracting students from learning. Students check e-mail, update their Facebook status, or surf the Web when they should be taking notes or paying attention to the professor. Basically, laptops are 21st century versions of doodling in your notebook.

I don’t know when laptops became the norm in college at the undergrad or graduate levels. I rarely saw someone with a laptop in class when I was getting my bachelor’s degree, but I suspect laptops caught on in graduate studies faster. And even if a student did have one when I was in school, the student couldn’t have checked Facebook, Twitter, or MySpace because those Web sites didn’t exist.

But now it seems as though all students are encouraged to have laptops to take to college, and they are essentially required for law students. I found an article from 2001 on the American Bar Association’s Web site with interviews from law students about “secret technology weapons” for surviving law school. Most listed the laptop. (Does anyone else’s mind wander to the scene in “Legally Blond” when Elle Woods shows up to her first law school class to discover she’s the only one without a laptop, or is that just me?)

According to Al’s Morning Meeting, an e-mail I receive from the Poynter Institute, when a Georgetown law professor banned laptops for six weeks, 80 percent of students reported they were more engaged in class discussion. Almost all admitted they had used their laptops for more than just taking notes.

If I’d had a laptop when I was in college, it would have been great. I can type much more quickly than I write, the notes would have been legible, and I could have organized them more easily. There’s also a good chance that if the lecture wasn’t keeping my attention, I would have surfed the Web.

Anyone have a professor ban laptops in a law class? Did the ban make your attention in class better or worse?

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  1. Great observation Smith. By my lights, speaking personally, they already have. They counted my religious perspective in a pro-life context as a symptom of mental illness and then violated all semblance of due process to banish me for life from the Indiana bar. The headline reveals the truth of the Hoosier elite's animus. Details here: Denied 2016 petition for cert (this time around): (“2016Pet”) Amicus brief 2016: (“2016Amici”) As many may recall, I was banned for five years for failing to "repent" of my religious views on life and the law when a bar examiner demanded it of me, resulting in a time out to reconsider my "clinging." The time out did not work, so now I am banned for life. Here is the five year time out order: Denied 2010 petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): (“2010Pet”) Read this quickly if you are going to read it, the elites will likely demand it be pulled down or pile comments on to bury it. (As they have buried me.)

  2. if the proabortion zealots and intolerant secularist anti-religious bigots keep on shutting down every hint of religious observance in american society, or attacking every ounce of respect that the state may have left for it, they may just break off their teeth.

  3. "drug dealers and traffickers need to be locked up". "we cannot afford just to continue to build prisons". "drug abuse is strangling many families and communities". "establishing more treatment and prevention programs will also be priorities". Seems to be what politicians have been saying for at least three decades now. If these are the most original thoughts these two have on the issues of drug trafficking and drug abuse, then we're no closer to solving the problem than we were back in the 90s when crack cocaine was the epidemic. We really need to begin demanding more original thought from those we elect to office. We also need to begin to accept that each of us is part of the solution to a problem that government cannot solve.

  4. What is with the bias exclusion of the only candidate that made sense, Rex Bell? The Democrat and Republican Party have created this problem, why on earth would anyone believe they are able to fix it without pushing government into matters it doesn't belong?

  5. This is what happens when daddy hands over a business to his moron son and thinks that everything will be ok. this bankruptcy is nothing more than Gary pulling the strings to never pay the creditors that he and his son have ripped off. they are scum and they know it.