3.1.18 Empty Classroom

Classrooms in Allen Hall sit empty on Thursday, March 1, 2018.

Technology such as smart phones, smart watches and laptops should not be allowed in college class. This is an initiative some of my classes have already taken, and I completely support it. Technology in the classroom setting is distracting. I see numerous students scrolling through social media instead of paying attention to the professor’s lecture.

There are numerous benefits to taking notes the old-fashioned way with paper and pens. Having a professor lecture from the front of the room is already boring to the average student. Putting a laptop or cell phone in front of them makes it nearly impossible for them to pay attention. Taking long-hand notes forces students to actively listen to the lecture by picking up important points made by the professor.

In two out of the five classes I am enrolled in, technology is banned. I find that I pay attention to the subject material more and listen with more intention. I take my notes in a journal, and physically writing out the important notes from the lecture requires me to actively listen to the professor and remember important points.

A study was conducted by professors at Princeton University and The University of California at Los Angeles to observe the benefits of taking long-hand notes. Pam A. Mueller of Princeton University says, “When people type their notes, they have this tendency to try to take verbatim notes and write down as much of the lecture as they can.” I find this to be true in my own experience. Students get lost typing without actually comprehending what the professor is actually saying, so when they go back to their notes they don’t truly understand what they typed.

She continues to explain the benefits of long-hand notes saying, “The students who were taking longhand notes in our studies were forced to be more selective — because you can’t write as fast as you can type. And that extra processing of the material that they were doing benefited them.” The study proved technology to be more distracting in student’s learning than valuable.

Of course, technology in the classroom can be extremely valuable by providing extra resources for the students and more visual teaching methods for the professors. However, technology should be banned from students for note-taking purposes in a classroom based on lecture.

The University of Chicago Law School has shut off their WiFi services in classrooms since 2008 because of the negative effects technology had on their students. According to Jennifer Senior from The Cut, “In the last few years, a number of studies have also shown, quite convincingly, that students learn better—and get better grades— when they take notes by hand.” The benefits of taking notes by hand are endless.

Students will object to this change if the University ever progresses in the same way other universities have across the country. However, this movement is factually supported and would be beneficial to the students.

Britany Diefenderfer is a 21-year old English literature junior from Thibodaux, Louisiana.

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