Another interesting article from the National Law Journal:
Law school upperclassmen are far more likely than their first-year counterparts to spend classroom time checking Facebook, playing solitaire, scanning sports scores or otherwise goofing around on their laptop computers, according to recent research.
Classroom observers found that among the 2Ls and 3Ls equipped with laptops, 87 percent used the devices for non-academic purposes for more than five minutes per class; 58 percent were distracted by their computer screens at least half the time.
By contrast, a mere 4 percent of the 1Ls observed during a civil-procedure course were “strongly distracted” by their computers, and 44 percent were never distracted.
The findings come from St. John’s University School of Law professor Jeff Sovern’s article in the latest edition University of Louisville Law Review: “Law Student Laptop Use During Class For Non-Class Purposes: Temptation v. Incentives.”
But he wasn’t the first to look at how laptops affect instruction. A 2012 study conducted by a doctoral candidate at Saint Louis University found that 2Ls tended to be the worst offenders when it came to using their laptops for non-academic purposes in class, followed by 1Ls and 3Ls, respectively.
The year before that, Temple University James E. Beasley School of Law professor Kristen Murray published an article defending the use of laptops in the classroom, based largely on a survey of 1Ls who said that laptop use can enhance learning.
As we all know, there are other ways to get students to pay attention beside banning laptops:
- Engaging students in classroom activities
- Team or group work
- Using clickers or student response systems or any polling system
- Have student use the Internet to research & look things up