Technology in the classroom

Guest Contributor


 Rachel Burbanks, Art Director

Data taken from Educase Center for Applied Research 2012.

Samford needs to acknowledge the 21st century.

I’m not talking about the abysmal Wi-Fi connection, but about the professors who still do not allow electronic note- taking in class.

Cell phones are distracting devices, I neither dispute nor advocate their use in class. But preventing students from utilizing technology as a tool in the classroom hinders academic progress.

Professors who ban laptops and tablets in the classroom need to stop living in the past.

As a student in the journalism and mass communication department, the majority of my experiences at Samford have been centered around the use of electronic devices.

My efficiency and productivity is far greater when I have my laptop. The ability to take notes, organize them and link relevant information is crucial to how I learn and study.

Yes, technology can fail, but with the explosion of cloud storage availability and surge in popularity of software like Evernote, it’s far easier to lose my spiral notebook than my digital one.

Additionally, I have many of my books stored on my iPad. Not only is it easier to access and lighter in my bag, the books are often cheaper and have more easily accessed relevant information than the hard copy.

I have now been in multiple classes that have banned electronic devices. Unfortunately, this personal pet peeve of many professors is rarely mentioned before purchasing textbooks.

In the process of trying to be a good student, I bought an ebook before class and saved some money.

Later, I was told that I can’t even use the book during lectures, because my iPad is banished to my backpack.

Some people might point to the numerous studies that show students learn more when handwriting notes.

That may very well be true for the majority of students, but I can say definitively that my learning style is more conducive to organizing my notes as I see fit.

Having the ability to reformat notes for a study guide is far more efficient than having to completely rewrite them. For those of us with atrocious handwriting, being able to type notes is a necessity.

The discrimination against students who need a more fluid and dynamic note-taking interface hurts the reputation and learning environment of Samford.

I wonder how many professors who ban electronics in the classroom would accept handwritten papers? I would wager that number is zero or close to it.

The responsibility to remain focused while using electronics is our responsibility, not the professor’s. There will always be people who are disrespectful or distracting regardless of class policies on note-taking.

For those of us who rely on electronic study methods, the ban on them in the classroom hurts us. We are told in college that we are adults, but evidently not trusted to act like adults.

If there are elementary schools in this state that use iPads in all of their classes, shouldn’t an organization of higher learning recognize their usefulness as well?

My high school issued every student a laptop and we were expected to use it for class. That was eight years ago.

Digital note-taking, e-books and technology in the classroom are here. It’s time Samford caught up.

Tate Holcombe is a senior journalism and mass communication major. Email him at

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