Law professors should think twice before banishing laptops from their classrooms.
That’s the takeaway of a new law review article challenging the popular notion that the siren call of Facebook and Reddit are too tempting for students to resist in class, and the widely held view that taking notes by hand is a more effective way to learn.
Laptop users in Ruth Colker’s constitutional law class at Ohio State University Michael E. Moritz College of Law earned comparable grades to those who voluntarily eschewed computers in class, according to her article in the Cardozo Law Review, titled “Universal Design: Stop Banning Laptops!”
Colker recommends that law professors allow their students to decide for themselves whether to use laptops on the grounds that students learn best in different ways. At the same time, professors should make clear that using the internet for nonclass purposes in strictly prohibited.
“I’m reluctant to make a choice for my students for all sorts of reasons,” Colker said in an interview. “The data suggests that students seem to make the right choice for themselves.”
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