Computers have been associated with academia for a very long time, and now that they have become small and cheap enough for nearly every student to own one, it is not surprising to see classrooms full of students who are sitting at their laptops. While some of these students are using their computers to take notes, others are using them for more devious purposes and logging on to internet chat rooms during the class in order to pass the time more quickly.
Is this a new problem?
A student not paying attention in class is certainly not a new problem. For years there have been students sleeping in class or simply passing notes to one another. The advent of notebook computers has made it much easier for students to pay attention to anything but the teachers. Chat rooms are an easy distraction for those who really do not want to pay attention in class.
The problem itself is not new, however internet chat rooms and other games that are available on laptops make it simple to breeze through a class without learning a simple thing. In an ideal world teachers would be able to prevent students from wasting time in this way, but in reality there is no simple way to make this happen.
How can it be prevented?
There’s no good way to prevent students from using internet chat rooms during class. Some teachers outright ban laptops during class, however this hurts the students who are using their laptops productively to take notes. Unfortunately it is very difficult to prevent students from using internet chat rooms during the class period.
The nicest solution would be to make every class period interesting, making it so that the students actually wanted to listen to the professor instead of using their laptops to goof off. However this is not a realistic solution as there will always be students who do not pay attention.
The best strategy is probably to leave well enough alone. By using laptops and internet chat rooms, these students are distracting no one but themselves. Without these laptops, many students still wouldn’t pay attention, but would instead be distracting each other, simply waiting for the bell to ring and let the poor students harm only themselves with their lack of ability to pay attention during class. There is simply no feasible method for making every student pay attention.
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