Professor Bans Laptops, Students Protest

The Associated Press is reporting that a University of Memphis law professor banned laptops in her first year law classroom.

My main concern was they were focusing on trying to transcribe every word that was I saying, rather than thinking and analyzing…The computers interfere with making eye contact. You’ve got this picket fence between you and the students.

It sounds like the professor has a wealth of new tools in her classroom: powerful laptops. Instead of redefining the boundaries of her classroom, she sees the laptops as a “fence” between her and her students.

Let’s play this problem out a little. You and your friend are on opposite sides of a fence. You want to work together. What can you do?

  1. Get rid of the fence
  2. Walk around the fence.


2 sounds good to me, the tool remains, and you can work together on the other side. This professor has a genuine opportunity to engage students with tools that they find valuable to their own learning. My advice: walk around the other side of the desks, and partner with your students. You will keep the learning tools, keep the student interest and you may just learn something from your students.

The students have formed a petition and plan to challenge the teacher’s decision with the school’s administration. Preliminary efforts have not yielded anything…

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