MacBook usage should be limited in classrooms

Students learn better on paper rather than looking at a screen


By Anna Ricker

MacBook use should be limited because students learn better using paper.

Anna Ricker, JAG assistant web editor

Every day and night, we work on our assignments and race to prepare for upcoming tests. It used to be that all our notes, homework and assignments were strictly paper-based but now that has all changed. With our new technology, the majority of the way we learn is on laptops, but we are not actually retaining any information from digital learning. Even though we do have these new laptops, our teachers should strive for an “old-fashioned” way of teaching and keep most of our assignments on paper. 

This digital age has its positives and negatives. The technology that has been developed has eased our lives and helped benefit many people, from finding a product online to medically assisting those who need it. Where technology should not be taking over is the classroom. A study published in Psychological Science found that note taking by hand was more effective than taking notes by typing them out on your laptop. Not only does a screen affect our ability to learn but they are also very accessible distractions. A study done by a college professor published in the New York Times found that “the research is unequivocal: Laptops distract from learning, both for users and for those around them.” The distractions can lead to worsened grades and an obviously easy way to cheat. These findings have been proven numerous times, so why is it that we continue to use laptops more than paper?

Using technology such as laptops is the easy way out. Why worry about printing 100 copies of an assignment when you could just click a few keys and the assignment is immediately posted on Canvas? My main concern with our laptops is solely based on the students’ ability to learn and retain what they need to not only pass the next test but remember for later on when they need it for something possibly outside of the classroom. Throwing a screen in front of a student’s face is not beneficial to their education. 

I took a survey and asked 50 students which helps them learn better, technology assignments or paper assignments. Out of the 50 students, 86% said they learn better on paper while only 14% said they prefer learning on the laptops. Although these laptops are a very nice gift from the district, the amount we use them in a classroom should be limited based on the fact that students learn better on paper.

This all boils down to the question of what will help students learn better? Laptops are an easier way of going about teaching, but to actually learn students need to be handed more paper assignments and less work on their laptops.

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