This is very interesting. I come from a time where laptops were not prolific in the classroom (matter of fact, they were really rare) and most students did not have a laptop, but a desktop. There were no tablets. Cell phones weren’t the multifunction units we have today. For the most part, students used engineering paper and pens/pencils to take their notes. I do know many students transcribed their notes at home onto the computer but I had no need as I tried to stay organized with them and put them all into a ring binder. Ahem.
A strict policy regarding technology (except maybe in a coding class) would be a good idea. I know I would get distracted if a student in front of me was playing on their laptop instead of paying attention to the lecture.
I come from a different background (Kettering students tend to be… very driven in regards to their studies… not that other schools’ students aren’t, but it just seemed that KU students had a stronger drive for some reason), so I’m probably biased in my observations.
I can see how a student could leverage technology to improve their grades through note-taking and dropbox and working through examples in class (I’m thinking something like Matlab, programming, or a CAD-style class). It would have been nice to have a Macbook on which I could have done my work and had a sweet dock/monitor setup and an iPad that could hold some of my books and other materials for reading. It would have reduced my load of what I was carrying, but I think I still would have carried paper and pens and pencils because I find in many cases that taking notes on paper is so much better and easier than taking notes on a laptop. I never got used to typing notes as they happen and I prefer to use a pen or pencil and engineering paper.
I wholeheartedly agree with you, Kelli, about your laptop/tech ban in class. I hope it will increase class interest and participation. I don’t have any experience on the other side of the podium, but I do have experience from being a student, and I feel that students with traditional notes materials seem to be more engaged. I know I was.