There continues to be much discussion and debate about the value of laptops in the classroom. Many educators and students alike justifiably share anecdotal evidence that laptops can be distraction. The question is not whether they are always a distraction but when can they be utilized as a powerful tool for teaching and learning? By using several technologies -including laptops – in a classroom environment, and employing a systematic “teaching as research” (TAR) paradigm to experiment and record engagement with and learning from laptops during class meetings, we are assembling semesters of data to suggest innovative ways to use laptops in beneficial ways.
Laptops are required in “Information 3.0″, one of first 25 ”I-Series” courses at the University of Maryland.-College Park This course deviates from traditional teaching and learning methods to seek answers to new questions about the roles that technologies play in our work, school, and play. Students use multiple technologies during the entire semester-including their own blogs, social networks, virtual environments and supplied mobile devices-to investigate how different audiences seek, select, share and use different types of information.