Laptops in lectures: Working hard or hardly working?

Over the summer, I was psyched to upgrade to the sleek Macbook Air for note-taking in class.  I thought I would be so much more organized with a computer—no longer would my different subjects overlap in my single clusterfuck of a composition book. The point is that I went in with the best intentions, but it wasn’t long before the power of the internet corrupted my poor freshman soul.

In the first week of school, I didn’t even bother connecting to Wi-Fi in lectures because I only wanted to take notes. Eventually, I wanted to pull up the Powerpoints from the lectures, but once I unleashed Safari, it was only matter of minutes before my Gmail was open. To be fair, I wasn’t emailing anyone, I just wanted to make sure there wasn’t a package waiting for me at Grad Center. Gmail may seem harmless, but it is a gateway drug. All of a sudden, I was addicted to being on Facebook in class, and I sure as shit can’t absorb what my professors are saying when I am busy “tsk-tsking” at overly provocative photos from Dayglow (kids these days with their dubstep music and their paint covered orgies). You know that when you’ve resorted to playing Jewel Quest II and going on a mini study abroad trip using Google Maps, you may as well not show up to class, because if Gmail is a gateway drug, meme-generating websites are the equivalent of crystal meth.

So let’s stop with the bullshit, because in the recent words of a history professor at this fine academic institution: “I understand if you want to Wikipedia stuff, but as far as I know, Facebook and Reddit don’t help to understand the impact of the Atlantic slave trade in solidifying global capitalism, but thats just me…”  Another important point before I get to my conclusion here: PROFESSORS KNOW THAT WE ARE NOT PAYING ATTENTION!  I am not going to list a bunch of tell-tale signs so that the more pathetic specimens on campus can actually brainstorm more effective strategies to hide their behavior, but here are some sorry and old scenarios:

  • If you are wearing glasses, your computer screen is most likely reflected in your lenses.
  • If you’re typing fast and furiously in the middle of a discussion section, it’s obvious that you are instant messaging your friend.
  • The people behind you will stare at your computer screen if you’re doing anything involving Facebook, and they will read over your shoulder if you start reading the Times. And no, it does not make goofing off okay just because it’s the New York Times.

Now that you know that you aren’t fooling anyone, accept that the time to surrender has come, and that it’s for your own good. I am not trying to be high and mighty here—I am so bad with this that I actually wrote the majority of this post while I was in a class!

Yesterday, I saw an upperclassman googling elementary terms during a minor iClicker quiz in my CLPS class. REALLY UPPERCLASSMAN?  REALLY? As if you didn’t already know this, I will reiterate that students in the Brown community—or anybody in any community for that matter—have a huge effect on one another. If someone sees someone else updating his tumblr in the seat in front of her, she will be a lot less likely to take the class seriously and will probably stop paying attention. Take initiative and set a good example…that is, stay focused on your note-taking during class and make everyone else feel like a douchebag until they are motivated to learn from your example and your awesome work ethic.

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