Laptops vs. Computer labs

Several in the blogosphere have pointed to the Ars Technica report this week about the decision of the University of Virginia to re-think computer labs, after only 4 new students arrived sans computer (didn’t state if they were laptops or desktops).

Naturally, the reaction was mixed – mostly anti the decision; based on aspects such as weight, printing, specialist software etc. Views I generally agree with.

However, there have also been increasing numbers of reports of individuals/ departments banning the use of laptops in class. (None that I’ve seen so far from Virginia). So we have an interesting dilemma; some would prefer students to have laptops on campus, but not everyone wants them to use them.

As far as I know, no UK universities have yet thought of removing open access computer space, nor have I heard of any banning students from using laptops – though mobile phones tend to be frowned on – presumably because most assume students are texting social messages, ignoring  the fact they can be used for internet access; for translation tools [international students]. I tend to restrict myself to a glare when the things actually ring. (The student is generally to busy turning it off in an embarassed manner to notice!)

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