I don’t allow phones or laptops in my university course. As a college professor, twice a week I lecture to 260 students about media, yet I forbid their classroom use of digital technology. I have my reasons. Being in constant touch with the rest of the planet (or at least your 10 besties) may be stimulating, but it gets in the way of learning – and of hearing yourself think.

Initially the idea of laptops in class seems smart. From the lectern at the front of the room, all those open computers appear to signal scholars at work. But walk up the steps to the back of the lecture hall, look down at the screens, and you’ll see Instagram and Gmail and Twitter.

Even good students who are interested in a course pop over to Facebook during a lecture. Sophomore Esme Nungaray checks social media to help her stay awake in class, but she also combats boredom by “participating more in discussions.”

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