Laptops present classroom distractions

I don’t know when it started, but a lot of my classmates began using laptops during all of their classes. They take notes, pay attention to what the professors are talking about and raise their hands to ask or answer some questions. But they also check email, sign onto Facebook and look through random Web pages.

I have a 4-year-old laptop, and it’s not a Mac, Dell or HP. So far, the battery lasts only 10 minutes and needs to plug into an ethernet cable if I want to surf the Internet. I hope it can be used until graduation. I doubt it, though.

If you think my argument is to tell students not to use laptops in class because I am jealous, I don’t even need to write this opinion piece. I’d just ask facilities to put a mirror on the wall at the back of every classroom.

Using a laptop in class is an interesting phenomenon. I noticed that if one student starts to use a laptop in class, others will do it also. It makes me feel like I am wasting my time if I don’t.

There are two sides to every debate. Students can use the Internet to search terms they don’t know and look at other related sources about a theory discussed in class. Students can aslo carry a 4 lb. laptop instead of multiple notebooks and textbooks.

On the other hand, using a laptop is distracting. We are a small college; most classes have fewer than 25 students. Small classes need students to be highly interactive.

If you want to take notes, listen to the class, be involved in class discussion, check your email, look at your friends’ Facebook, search for the day’s sports game results and even finish your homework for another class at the same time, you should consider why you can’t do that after the class.

I understand some classes are pretty boring. A friend just told me she uses her laptop in class just because it keeps her awake. She thinks sleeping in the class would make her professor more upset.

Don’t get me wrong, I am a big fan of technology. Technology itself is never a bad thing, but how to use it depends on the purpose. The decision differs based on the needs of certain types of classes and your own study habits. Think ahead, if you can handle it, instead of following what your classmates are doing. Don’t use a laptop in class if you know it causes distractions.

Jaffy Xiao/Features editor
Jaffy Xiao can be reached at

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