Two years ago, Carrie B. Fried, a psychology professor at Winona State University in Minnesota, studied the effect of laptops on learning. She discovered that computers were a significant distraction in class and that using laptops negatively affected students. The students admitted that they learned less and performed poorly compared with those who didn’t use them during class.
Tablets such as the iPad will only make it harder for students to pay attention in class and for schools to ban devices. Because the iPad can be used to read textbooks, professors might be unsure which students are goofing off and which are studying. Seton Hill University in Pennsylvania doesn’t seem to mind. In the fall, the school is going to give each incoming student a MacBook and an iPad. How distracted will those students be?
And students just don’t understand why professors care. In the University of Denver student newspaper, one student argued that it’s the student’s problem if he or she isn’t paying attention and not the “responsibility of professors to babysit the young adults in the class.” The parents who pay thousands of dollars to universities probably disagree with that sentiment, as does Krahel.
“The thing is, I’m responsible for these kids’ grades,” he said. “So it reflects badly on me if they fail. And I’m not going to pull punches; I’m not going to deliberately inflate their grades. But I’m not going to give them the opportunity to shoot themselves in the foot.” (via WaPo/Big Money/Slate via Laura Mortkowitz)