I think I can be safely included in the remove laptops from the classroom bunch. I’m not one hundred percent on whether this should be laptops/tablets/etc in general or just ones that are connected to the internet. I think there is some room between those two for compromise. This is especially true for the likes of me since I type a helluva lot faster without fatigue than I could ever hope to scrawl on paper and, unlike the lose this notebook and all of your notes are gone single point of failure of paper notes, I can keep the product of that note taking in a dozen handier places than a disposable notepad and readily use those notes in other works without hinging that usage around transcription from one format to another. After college, I hardly ever write by hand any more mainly because I have little need to and the likelihood that I’m going to lose whatever scrap of paper I’ve written that important thing on. That’s an aside.
I do think that encouraging full desk occupancy of a device that is used by a large majority as a tool for socializing is problematic at very best. I like the idea of removing wireless access from classroom settings outright because that removes convenience of distraction from a tool that could, you know, just be a tool. Given the amount of real, actual data and mental work that has been expended thinking about this situation, you’d think people would calmly accept that perhaps perpetually internet connected devices should be left out of the classroom. Sigh, my expectations are clearly too high on the interwebs. The comments, oh god, the comments.
I may be speaking here as someone impacted by age (I’m 43 which is dinosaur to most of the pesky, meddling kids I’m speaking of) and by parenthood (I have a nearly seven year old), but I’m guessing that with some applied effort even people as unpracticed at writing inken words on paper (from dead trees!) as I am could take notes and read back over them later under the threat of failing a test otherwise. Although I am not an educator by profession, I would venture that the process of participating in higher education (even as a paying customer! with real money!one) you should expect to put your mind into spaces that aren’t already intimately familiar and work through those challenges. I’m sure you’re really awesome at that flight simulator, but I don’t think we’re going to give you a pilot’s license right now.