One of our students made this interesting observation in her comment on my previous post: “But on the topic of [laptop] computers in classrooms, I find no problems with computers in an actual classroom setting- mainly because you can not pay attention just as well without a computer as you can with one.”
Good point. I found many ways not to pay attention when I was in school, long before anyone ever imagined laptops and Iphones and text messaging.
In defense of laptops in the academy, I admit that mine helps me get through dysfunctional faculty meetings. College professors will argue, endlessly, about the most trivial of issues, going around in rhetorical circles. Someone disagrees with your position? Must be they didn’t understand your argument, so make it again, at greater length, with more intensity. They still don’t get it? Repeat ad infinitum until someone calls the question.
I find that by multitasking during our nearly three hours of music faculty meetings per week, I’m able to follow the conversation, participate when appropriate, get something done when some of my colleagues are in listening-to-themselves-talk mode, and remain calmer and less frustrated than I was in the pre-laptop era.