When syllabi are distributed, the first thing many students look for is the boldfaced headline, “Electronics.” Our stomachs clench as we read that “Laptops are not permitted for note taking, and cell phones must be turned off prior to the start of class.”
The purpose of technology is to promote discovery and to share information with individuals worldwide. But when technology distracts us from the knowledge we should be gaining, it becomes an obstacle rather than a tool.
Some students may have the multitasking abilities to simultaneously absorb class material while Facebook chatting about a recent Grove rendezvous and reading up on the latest Kardashian mishap, but many are not as capable.
Students complain that their classes are not meaningful and that professors drone on as each torturous minute ticks by. However, if an individual does not actively listen to a lecture or participate in class, then this disinterest, which hinders learning, is his or her own fault.
We benefit more from the class when we are fully engaged, whether through our fascination with the subject or simply by asking questions for our professors to delve into a related topic. Developing the ability to actively listen can help you engage in the material and form relationships with your professor. It’ll be a necessary life skill for years to come.
There are students who use laptops for more detailed note taking, so some may question whether these technology-banning policies inhibit their learning. But the most important concept may be one that is long forgotten with the days of chivalry and Aretha Franklin songs: respect. If the professor requests that you turn off your electronics, it is a matter of courtesy toward that individual.
You pay tuition to learn from these acclaimed professors, so you may as well make the most of your education. Disconnect from your electronics for a mere hour of the day. I promise that online shopping will still be around and Miley Cyrus will still be the same train wreck she was an hour ago.
Alyssa Jacobson is a junior majoring in advertising and political science.