Our world is becoming increasingly centred around technology. Educational institutions must accept this fact. Students should be allowed to use laptops in classrooms.

Have you ever had a professor forget something during lecture? The name of that Kevin Bacon movie? The population of Istanbul? The gestation period of an elephant?

“Google it,” someone shouts. With a few finger taps the students using laptops are able to access the wealth of knowledge that the Internet offers. The professor gets their answer and the lecture continues. Laptops bring the infinite amount of knowledge online into the classroom. Embrace it. Nipissing University’s new iTeach initiative, for example, is trying to increase the use of technology to facilitate learning in the classroom. If primary and secondary school classrooms are heading down the technology path, shouldn’t we, as well?

Laptops also make it a lot easier to organize. Word processors give you the ability to format and edit your notes as you go. Well organized notes make it much easier to study for exams. If laptops were banned in class, it would put users at a great disadvantage by having to begin writing notes by hand.

Not only do laptops make note-taking easier, they also use much less paper. Professors are catching on, too, posting their seven page course outlines on WebCT instead of printing one out for each student. Emailing assignments allows us to take classes without ever touching a sheet of paper. In an increasingly green-conscience society, not buying notebooks and endless stacks of lined paper does make a difference.

Laptops can be distracting. I know I’ve had my eye drawn to en epic game of Minesweeper on the laptop in front of me during a past lecture. It’s a matter of attention span. If you’re not able to take your eyes off the screen in front of you and listen to the professor, you probably shouldn’t be in university. And if those irresistible YouTube videos ARE too distracting, sit in the front row. Laptops are a source of distraction, but so is that magazine, game of tic-tac-toe or wad of bubble gum stuck on your shoe.

Laptops are a potential distraction in the classroom, but this one negative does not stand a chance against the many benefits that they offer to students. Their constant ability to access information in an increasingly technological society, their organizational abilities and environmentally-friendly, paperless note-taking means laptops can and should be used as a powerful learning tool in classrooms for years to come.

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