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

As people grow through time, they also grow with technology. Classrooms in high schools and across college campuses are integrating more computer usage. Textbook companies such as Chegg are now promoting the use of electronic textbooks. Technology has spilled over into student activities as well, as more students in lecture halls can be seen toting around their laptops and tablets. Because the world is evolving so rapidly, more of us should consider the use of laptops and tablets as a means of taking notes in class.
Let’s be honest: Any device with Internet capabilities also has the potential of becoming a distraction. However, who’s to say that writing notes manually doesn’t pose the same threat? I can glance around and see other students drawing in their notebooks, clearly distracted and disregarding the professor. Even if I glance down, I occasionally find doodles in my own notebook. While laptops or tablets do provide a risk of distraction, if one has self-control, then he or she doesn’t need to worry.
People also misplace things all the time. We’re students, and we all have a million things running through our minds. If we rush out of our rooms or put down a notebook in a random spot, it’s easy to leave notes behind. However, how likely are we to forget or misplace a $1,500 laptop? If that laptop holds all of our notes, there is less of a chance of losing them than with a binder or notebook. Besides, carrying a tablet with all of my notes is easier on my back than carrying five binders at once.
For awhile, I was against laptop or tablet usage in class. However, I’m bringing my iPad to more classes with me. I even rented an e-textbook for this semester. I find myself typing faster and more accurately now, as opposed to a few months ago. I’ve been able to teach myself that technology is a helpful thing if we utilize it properly and don’t take advantage of it. Even as an avid blogger and writer, I don’t catch myself tempted by having an iPad in my hands during my classes.
Many students are fearful of bringing an electronic device into class for taking notes. They are afraid of being distracted by what is in front of them. However, distractions only exist if we search for them. Self-control is a beautiful thing that we all have. We are far less likely to lose our laptops, and if they hold all of our notes for classes, then we are less likely to need notebooks upon notebooks of material. I have began the transition of taking notes on my iPad and can personally affirm that it’s only as distracting or difficult as I allow it to be. Cutting edge technology with amazing possibilities is at our fingertips. If we can use anything to our advantage, why not try?
-Samantha Sawh
Freshman journalism major
Printed in the 2/5/14 edition.

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