For a moment, let’s put aside the debate over whether laptops are a distraction in the classroom.
Disregard the Twitter threads and op-eds alternately calling for a ban on such electronic devices or a ban on banning devices. Let’s instead recognize that the debate over whether laptops belong in the classroom — or even technology writ large — misses the fundamental issue.
The heart of the issue is not whether technology is a distraction in the classroom. It’s that different students learn differently. We should be discussing how to organize our teaching to engage diverse learning styles. And yes, some of those strategies involve the use of technology. There is a great need for professors to be both pedagogically trained to support learning differences in the classroom and to understand the changing landscape of learning accommodations.