The debate has begun at Duke University — and I’m sure at other institutions of higher education — to limit, or even ban, the use of laptops by students in the classroom:

The educational benefits of banning laptops would be considerable. First, it would remove the temptation for students to let their browsers amble to social media sites or other irrelevant content. Especially in seminar classes, the quality of discussion is highly dependent on each student being fully present. A student’s extraneous use of laptops in class is tantamount to saying, “I am not going to give my full attention in class today,” a behavior that is becoming ever more permissible.

Second, unnecessary laptop usage is disrespectful to one’s classmates, creating a negative externality that affects students beyond the laptop user. This negative externality is not confined to seminars. Laptops can be distracting in auditorium-style lectures.


Read the rest of this editorial that appears in The Duke Chronicle here.