Using Laptops in the Classroom

We know that computer technology plays a vital role in virtually every establishment in the world, but do laptops help or hinder in the classroom?

Two recent classroom-based studies* suggest that students’ use of laptops in class can have a positive impact on their attention and learning.

The Top 8 Benefits of Using Laptops in the Classroom

1. Laptops help foster on-line collaborations with other students.
2. They are helpful for curriculum support and helping with additional information for students.
3. Organisation. They help students keep track of assignments and follow an online school calendar.
4. Students can watch lectures at home – and then discuss during lessons at school.
5. Assignments can be set on line and then submitted to the teacher via email.
6. While using laptops for projects, computer skills are improved.
7. Laptops make learning more interesting to technology-savvy students.
8. Computer technology is good for more detailed and recorded feedback.

Well, those 8 points seem pretty hard to argue against, don’t they? And it’s not just students who can benefit from using laptops in class. I recently spoke to my friend Julie, a teacher in York who uses a laptop not just for taking the morning register, but she also uses it to take lunchtime orders from the children and then sends them directly through to the catering staff. So, it seems that everyone is benefiting from the use of laptops in class. Or are they?

Using laptops in the Classroom

The negative side of using laptops in class

The main negative is that the temptation for distraction is high. A lecturer at Dartmouth University (USA) recently told the New York Times that he banned laptops from his computer-science classes – a bold move – when he discovered half of his students were busy engaged in online shopping or social media obligations. He then turned the screen of his lecture presentation to a Reddit feed and watched some football highlights. That got everyone’s attention.

Hand writing suffers

Some teachers believe that the over-use of computers in classroom is not good for pupils’ writing skills. A computer can auto-correct a wrong word – but the best job is with pen and paper.

Using Laptops in the Classroom

Financial cost

Another often-overlooked negative is that laptops often come with a price tag that not all schools can afford. Despite what Jessie J sings, sometimes, it is about the money and the price tag.

At we’re very aware of the financial constraints on schools these days, and so we’ve got together with Microsoft to introduce leasing options for schools, along with discounts for educational establishments.

It seems that there are lots of positives from having laptops in the classroom – provided they are strictly monitored. I’ve actually bought a new mobile online while I was supposed to be writing this blog article. Just don’t tell my boss.

And if you’re looking for a new laptop – don’t forget the all-important carry case!

*University of Michigan Centre for research on Learning and Teaching/*Zhu, Kaplan, Dershimer, & Bergom.

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