Although iPads and other tablets seem to get all the attention these days, a good laptop is still preferred by students and non-students alike. The fact that a laptop has the same operating system and most of the same programs as a desktop computer makes it easier to use for most school assignments, and the fact that laptops have keyboards is a definite plus.
Laptops have been a staple in college classrooms for years, much to the delight of some educators and the chagrin of others. Naturally, they can be seen in high school classrooms as well. There are definitely plenty of benefits of having laptops in the classroom, but there are also some disadvantages. Any good educator should be able to weigh all the pros and cons before deciding for or against having laptops in class.
The pros of students having laptops in class should be pretty obvious. Many students can take notes on a laptop a lot faster and easier than they can by hand. They just have to type what their teacher is saying in a handy Word document and they have easily accessible and legible notes on hand. If they have Internet access, they can find a great deal of information on whatever the class happens to be discussing at any given time. Teachers can also take advantage of laptops in class by putting notes, Powerpoint presentations, videos and other supplemental material on the cloud for easy access, making in-class presentations and lessons that much easier.
Unfortunately, there are also some downsides to having laptops in the classroom. As useful as laptops can be for teaching lessons and giving presentations, they only work if every student in class has a laptop of their own. Even if a school is providing laptops, there is always a chance that there aren’t enough to go around or that a couple of laptops will experience technical difficulties. Some students will be left out in the cold and not get the education they deserve.
Another problem with laptops in the classroom is that students may be tempted to use them for things that have nothing to do with their schoolwork. There will always be people who will want to log onto Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or any of the other countless distracting websites as soon as they are able. Yes, these sites can be blocked by certain software, but that isn’t always a great solution since some sites that students should be able to access may also be blocked. Savvy students may be able to get around such software anyway.
Not only do sites like Facebook and YouTube pose a distraction for students visiting them, they can also be disruptive for other students in class as well. A loud YouTube video will be distracting to the student inconsiderate enough to play it, and it could be disruptive for those students who are actually trying to get their work done. As we’ve previously established, stopping students from visiting sites they should stay away from in class is almost more trouble than it’s worth.
Weighing the Pros and Cons
So, do the pros of having laptops in the classroom outweigh the cons? Many educators and students would say that they do. Most of the downsides of laptops in the classroom have always been present in some form. There have always been technical difficulties when dealing with any technology, and there have always been disruptive students in classrooms all over the world. These problems shouldn’t be blamed on laptop computers, and students who use them to be successful in class shouldn’t be punished for these minor problems.
Doug Rudder is a freelance writer focusing on various tech topics such as gadget insurance, computer hardware, cell phone apps, futuristic technology and so forth; readers interested in obtaining quality insurance for their gadgets should take a peek at the information at Protectyourbubble.com.