The Wall Street Journal’s Law Blog, which I thank again for not using the awful word "blawg," reported yesterday that Georgetown Law Center professor David Cole has banned laptops from his classroom. Students typically claim, he says, that it is easier for them to take notes on a laptop and that it is no problem because they can "multitask." Cole gave two reasons for the ban in a Washington Post article over the weekend:
- First, typing turns you into a stenographer more focused on getting the words down than actually thinking about them, let alone participating in a classroom discussion.
- Second, many people aren’t even taking notes, they’re checking their email, shopping, or [insert pointless Internet activity here].
- Third (I know I said there were only two, but this was implicit), he is sick of students asking "Could you repeat the question?" as they look up from their laptop because they weren’t paying attention.
I could not agree with this more, not so much based on laptopping, which was rare when I was in school (at Georgetown, as it happens), but on the continuing scourge of that horrible Satanic torture tool that some call the "Blackberry." I wonder sometimes if I am the only lawyer on the planet not infected with this parasite, which not only keeps people eerily connected at all times like the pod people in Invasion of the Body Snatchers, but also manages to chop their attention span into even-tinier bits than email already does by constantly beeping and blooping at them like some idiot conjoined twin. (No offense to conjoined twins, many of whom are wonderful demi-people.) "As for multitasking," Cole wrote, "I don’t buy it," and neither do I, having seen so many people not do it.
So far, I’ve been able to resist having one of these forced on me, but I’ve had to flee in terror a number of times when someone realizes that I’m not one of them.
So I fear the time is coming when I, too, will become a glassy-eyed, drooling pod slave, but for now I have the drooling under control, at least.