I teach computer science, so the notion of banning computers from my classes seems absurd. My approach has been to treat college students as adults; if they want to squander their time playing games and reading Facebook during class, it is their responsibility. However, as a teacher, I am also responsible to ensure that the activity of some students does not affect the learning environment for others. Furthermore, the culture of the classroom, including class discussions, can be impaired when students are distracted. For this reason, I have recently insisted on a “laptop contract” with my students. In this contract, students are encouraged to use longhand, but may use laptops on the condition that they disable their wi-fi connection (except when necessary to minimize distractions) and commit to using the laptop for class-related work only.
I share some of my thoughts on laptops and learning in my most recent Christian Courier column at: