Face-off: Technology in class: Distraction or helpful? – Distraction

Imagine sitting in class trying to take notes the old-fashioned way, with a pen and paper, when you quickly become distracted by the person next to you typing notes on a laptop. Then, the person on the other side of you is also on his laptop; however, he’s checking his Twitter feed and updating his Facebook status. It can become very overwhelming.
I don’t believe that using computers is the best approach to taking the most thorough notes, because it’s a huge distraction. Technology in the classroom is becoming more and more prevalent. However, I feel like sometimes it can serve as an interference even in the digital age we live in.
Many people find that taking notes on their laptop or tablet is a lot easier than just writing them. There’s no doubt that it’s faster than the traditional way, but the need for your fingertips to start typing your favorite time-wasting websites into the address bar is almost inevitable. Not only is technology a distraction for those trying to type their notes, but wandering eyes are more than likely going to watch you scroll through your news feed or timeline instead of paying attention to what the professor is saying. I’ve seen students also taking notes on their tablets, and it looks like they’re scribbling in a coloring book rather than taking notes as they write using their stylus. My eyes can’t look away, but I know I have to if I want to take the best notes I can.
This may seem nit-picky, but even the smallest things while students are on their computers during class can serve as a distraction. Whether it’s hearing a chat notification sound on Facebook, hearing laughter from a student reading something funny, or hearing the volume increase or decrease on a Macbook (that all too familiar noise), they are all bothersome. When you’re using your computer for your own guilty pleasures, it’s more than obvious to the class and your professor. You’re paying all this money to attend these classes so that you can get ahead in your prospective field. The least you can do is give your attention and respect to the person teaching you and get off Twitter for just a second.
I’m not suggesting that we all take our notes the old-fashioned way. As I said before, I think there are some benefits to using your laptop in class to take your notes. However, the negatives certainly outweigh the positives. Technological distractions are everywhere, but when you are in a tiny classroom listening to a lecture, it can be very easy to get lost in something else. So what I am suggesting is that if you do use your laptop, actually take notes. Try to avoid going on your social media sites or looking up funny articles or videos. I know it’s difficult not to do that sometimes, but it really distracts you and your classmates from doing our best work.
-J’na Jefferson
Junior journalism major
Printed in the 2/5/14 edition.

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