The Situationist

Archive for April 20th, 2008

Banning Laptops in the Classroom – Abstract

Posted by The Situationist Staff on April 20, 2008

Kevin Yamamoto posted his forthcoming article, “Banning Laptops in the Classroom: Is it Worth the Hassles?” (57 Journal of Legal Education (2008)), on SSRN. Here is the abstract.

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Over the last several years law school classrooms have seen an explosion of student laptop use. Law professors have allowed this by default, generally under the pretense that laptops make note-taking easier. However, many professors complain that students use their laptops to play games, watch movies, or if they have an Internet connection, to do web surfing and e-mailing during class. This paper presents my experience in banning laptops from my classroom in the Fall of 2006, the first time it was done at my institution. The article covers the reasons for and against allowing laptops in the classroom, my reasoning and procedure for banning them, perceived differences in the classroom experience and relevant student comments from my course evaluations, which were overwhelmingly positive to the laptop ban. Also covered are the cognitive psychological reasons in support of banning laptops. Studies show that lower grades were correlated with increased student web browsing during class (Grace-Martin & Gay, 2001; Hembrooke & Gay, 2003), and the amount of time which students used their laptops for tasks other than taking lecture notes (Fried, 2007). MRI studies of the brain indicate that the brain stores information differently when distracted, which occurs when students attempt to multi-task in class (Foerde, Knowlton, & Poldrack, 2006). The science of note-taking is also covered, which indicates verbatim typing may interfere with learning (e.g., Kiewra, 1991). The paper concludes by urging law school professors to review why laptops are allowed in their classrooms and, unless they feel that laptops increase student learning, to ban or heavily restrict their classroom use.

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Situationism in the Blogosphere – March 2008 (Part II)

Posted by The Situationist Staff on April 20, 2008

Josh Radovan & Digital Methods Initiative

Below, we’ve posted titles and a brief quotation from some of our favorite non-Situationist situationist blogging during March. (They are listed in alphabetical order by source.)

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From Frontal Cortex: “The Illusion of Streaks

“Someone should really tell the NCAA tournament television commentators that “the hot hand” doesn’t exist. I’ve gotten pretty tired of hearing these tired cliches about Texas going cold, or Stephen Curry catching fire yet again. Never has a cognitive illusion gotten so much play.” Read more . . .

From Laura’s Psychology Blog: “Weight bias as frequent as racial bias….

Rebecca Puhl and her colleagues at the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University report that bias against heavy people is as common in the United States as racial bias, and is more common than bias based on sexual orientation, nationality/ethnicity, physical disability, and religious beliefs.” Read more . . . .

From Laura’s Psychology Blog: “It’s Nice To Be Tall….

“Taller people are reported to be more persuasive, more likely to be leaders, and more attractive as mates. Now add another wrinkle to the height thing–according to Buunk and his colleagues, short men are more likely to be jealous.” Read more . . .

From Mind Hacks: “We Will Please Pill

Placebo has its effect through our beliefs and expectations. Because we get many of our assumptions through culture, changing social attitudes could alter how effective it is. Placebo is sometimes called the ‘expectancy effect’ and describes the fact that our expectations of what the dummy treatment will do can influence the outcome. Read more . . .

From Mixing Memory: “Emotion, Reason, and Moral Judgment

Research on the role of emotion/intuition in moral judgments is really heating up. For decades (millennia, even), moral judgment was thought to be a conscious, principle-based process, but over the last few years, researchers have been showing that emotion and intuition, both of which operate automatically and unconsciously for the most part, play a much larger role than most philosophers and psychologists had previously been willing to admit. In this context, two recent papers by roughly the same group of people have presented some really interesting findings which, if you ask me (and if you’re reading this, that’s what you’re doing, damnit), really muddy the picture, but in a good way. Read more . . .

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For previous installments of “Situationism on the Blogosphere,” click on the “Blogroll” category in the right margin.

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