Record your notes on paper, not Instagram

Nick Sestanovich
Nick Sestanovich

It’s no secret that lectures can be boring and tedious. Even I’ll admit to occasionally zoning out when professors are talking.

However, I realize that I’m in class to learn, so I make a concerted effort to pay attention as much as possible. That is why I shake my head when I see students surfing the Internet on their laptops during class time.

This is how pervasive electronic technology has become among today’s generation: Approximately 38 percent of all college students can’t go more than 10 minutes without using a digital device, according to the Educational Database Online. It has become so frequent that students even have to check their devices while in school. More than 80 percent of students admitted to using digital devices during class, according to a study by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. During my classes, I see people texting on their phones, checking Facebook on their laptops and playing games. I even once saw someone watching a TV show on their laptop during a lecture.

To me, this shows a stunning lack of respect — not only for the professors, but also for parents and taxpayers whose money is being wasted on  students who’d rather play “Angry Birds” than open their textbooks. Sure, professors’ lectures aren’t always interesting, but they are teaching valuable skills to those entering specific fields. That’s what everybody goes to school for. It is hard for those skills to stick when students are more focused on Instagram than their textbooks. If students feel like they cannot function without checking their Facebook every so often, they should know they will have many other opportunities to do so outside of class. In class they should be paying attention to their professor.

Not only is it distracting for students using electronics, it is also distracting for those students sitting around them. If I am sitting behind somebody watching a silly cat video on their laptop, I will have a hard time listening to lectures while the adorable antics of a fuzzy feline play out in front of me. People who do distracting things in class are likely going to capture the attention of other people in their range.

Unfortunately, I do see the value of bringing laptops to class for note-taking purposes. I don’t think I would do it because I’d probably feel too tempted to surf the Internet, but I realize some people have an easier time taking notes on computers than writing them by hand. Unfortunately, too many students are using them in the wrong way. I had a professor who banned the use of laptops in her classroom because she thought students were using them to surf the web. It is a case of bad apples ruining the whole bunch. I know there are people who only use their laptops for taking notes, but far too many students use their laptops without ever taking notes or spend some time on their notes and the rest on the Internet. It’s because of these people we can’t have nice things.

I’d like it if people turned off their phones in class and did not use their laptops for irrelevant purposes. There is plenty of knowledge that students can gain from their professors that they can’t get by constantly checking their emails or texting. For those who still do not see how it’s a big deal, wait until finals roll around and see if the time spent browsing Facebook in class was good preparation.

 

Nick Sestanovich can be reached at [email protected] or @Nsestanovich on Twitter.