Using Laptops in the Classroom as a Teaching Tool

Since I shared the first couple of emails in the current debate at UNM about laptops, I asked Alfred Mathewson if I could share his response.  He is working on using the lap tops as a teaching tool! 

“I am probably moving in the opposite direction of most of my colleagues here and in most law schools.  I am experimenting with the laptops.  While I am concerned about the extent to which they may be used to distract students, I think we must conceive of laptops as something more than notepads.  In many classes, notetaking is the only pedagogical use of the laptop.  I have been experimenting with other uses in the classroom.  If the laptops are going to be in the classroom, we should make use of them.  I am currently reviewing an online interactive casebook for Civil Procedure in case I teach it again. In Contracts this fall, I plan to experiment with bringing my laptop to class rather than using the big screen for Power Point presentations. I will use a TWEN course site. They will be able to annotate the PowerPoint but they will have no need to spend course time copying the slides. They will, however, have to use the laptop to see the PowerPoint. As I see it, we must prepare students to practice in an era far more technologically advanced than the one in which we were educated.” 

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