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February 24, 2010


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Alison Furlong

I have really mixed feelings about students using laptops in class. As a student I love it - all my notes are easily searchable, and my handwriting is hideous, which makes hand note-taking an iffy proposition.

On the other hand, on the whole I have found laptops to be the kiss of death for class discussion. And this is even aside from the whole issue of people doing non-class stuff on laptops during class, which I confess I have done, too.

Ed Webb

Definitely not Luddites. Luddites get a bad press, but were generally quite strategic and realistically class-conscious. They sabotaged machines that were genuinely a threat to their livelihoods and were the tools of oppression, not because they hated machines/technology/progress. So I'm looking forward to that argument.

I don't mind laptops in my classes. If they become a distraction, I have ways of getting your attention. It's part of what being a teacher is about.


Bryan, your comment on the Luddite/Amish distinction reminded me of Pynchon's essay on C.P. Snow and the Luddites:

Back to our laptop-smashing instructor, here is a news story that adds a bit more info:

And, of course, here's Professor Mullen's explanation on his home page:
Somehow, I don't think Ned Lud or Jakob Ammann would be terribly impressed by the depth of his thinking on the subject...

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