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Debating Classroom Laptop Bans

Between Lawyers discusses this post by professor James Maule over whether law professors should ban laptops from the classroom.  Maule's post responds to  a law school professor's decision to ban laptops from the classroom which generated a petition to the dean and a complaint to the ABA.   Maule assesses all sides of the debate (including wondering why professors can't engage students and whether laptops are really all that different from doing the crossword puzzles).  But ultimately Maule concludes that banning laptops is poor policy that coddles students and doesn't teach them to discipline themselves against distraction:

"One goal of legal education is to teach future lawyers that professionals need to be responsible. Teaching law students to be responsible requires more than denying them the opportunity to be irresponsible. It requires guiding them around the tempting distractions. If law faculty become too controlling, how are the students going to fend for themselves after graduation when the faculty isn't there to control things for them?"

Maule has a point.   Law school teaches so few practical skills; you don't learn how to file a complaint or argue to a jury or run a law practice.  Maybe letting students learn to multitask and prioritize class or laptop will make the price of tuition worthwhile.

Posted by Carolyn Elefant on March 26, 2006 at 11:31 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)


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