My colleague Michael Friedman, a HILT research fellow at Harvard, has a post in Inside Higher Ed this week on “Beyond the Laptop Debate” where he summarizes some of his thoughts on whether or not to allow laptops in classrooms. Mike’s thoughts are informed by some research he’s been doing on student note-taking behavior and its effects on classroom practice. He finds some evidence of a positive correlation between GPA and long-hand note-taking, but he’s as interested in student autonomy as he is in student agency.
Mike reframes the debate from the effects on laptops on student learning to the effect of choice on student learning:
Ultimately, Dr. Holstead's article raises an important point beyond the laptop debate: do we want to impose specific policies on students to optimize their learning and long-term retention, or do we want students to optimize their learning by showing them the evidence and letting them figure out what works best for them? Even if students make the wrong choices, they may be more motivated learners if they have the autonomy to decide for themselves.
In the current landscape where blended and online courses are becoming increasingly common, the need for students to self-regulate and optimize their own learning is now more important than ever.
The full article includes a list of suggestions for students and teachers, and further consideration of the merits of choice and efficacy, and it is worth reading.
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