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The Daily Tar Heel

Editorial: COVID-19 proves that technology can only help in the classroom

DTH Photo Illustration. Some professors at UNC Chapel Hill do not allow laptop use during class.

We've all heard it in a class: “There will be no technology use in this classroom."

Surely, after an entire academic year where a video communication app was the only means for continuing classes, we would recognize the necessity of technology. 

For some professors, technology is still viewed as a distraction.

They would prefer the archaic system of pen and paper notes rather than dare to allow a device in their presence. In their syllabuses, students are often provided evidence that supposedly demonstrates the advantages of taking notes by hand over our devices.

Studies show that when it comes to learning concepts — and more importantly, retrieving facts — those who took notes by hand proved to score higher on tests than those who took notes on laptops.

This can be attributed to further research on undergraduate and law students that has demonstrated that students who use laptops have something unrelated to the class on their screens around 40 percent of the time.

The thought of "no-technology" classrooms is fair and well-intentioned. Professors follow the guidance of research for the benefit of their students. They figure that by outlawing technology in their classrooms, students can be disposed of outside distractions — and fully focus on lecture content.

However, it can be contradictory that some professors are controlling over this issue. So much of college has been self-independence and learning to operate without the close aide of instructors. 

Our college experiences have looked very different than high school. No longer are we hounded to complete our assignments — it is merely our choice to determine our success. We can go entire courses without ever interacting with our professors. 

It is this self-freedom that is an enjoyable part of the college experience for so many. Yet, it is strange that technology is where we draw the line with some professors. For students that pay for the privilege to attend class, it should be up to them to determine the best way to compile class content. 

Class content can be amassed with technology for several purposes. First, those on laptops can generally compile more notes while typing. With professors that lecture without the use of presentations (you would be surprised how many do so), it can be difficult to follow along with key components of the lecture.

Second, when writing papers or completing class assignments, it can be a struggle to reference past class content. Having the ability to use command F can provide an easy access to content and in turn, strengthen the quality of our work. 

Third, when professors reference diagrams and charts in class, there are occasions where it can be hard to recreate the images by hand. With the handy use of the internet, the diagram or chart can be easily copied and pasted in our notes to give us a further understanding of the class content when studying.

While this complaint can appear like a “lazy request” from the young generation, it is quite the opposite. Quarantine demonstrated the importance of technology to stay connected with the fast-paced world. It is time that professors drop outdated “no-technology” rules and adapt to the latest developments.


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