Guest Post: How to Use a Laptop in ClassOctober 17th, 2007 · 10 comments
This is a guest post written by Kelly Sutton, one of the good folks from the always excellent Hack College blog.
“Wow, you write for a blog and you are a current student! How on earth can you juggle those two tasks?”
Admittedly, I’ve only heard this question once or twice during my run as a college student. It never quite occurred to me exactly how I can handle a few responsibilities simultaneously. Then I remembered:
I bring my laptop to class.
I probably take some of the most cohesive and complete notes of my classmates. (Not to one-up them, but I’m pretty sure it’s true. But notes are personal preference. So maybe I’m not so special.) During any given class, I also usually manage to stay updates on my email, the news, all of the other sweet college blogs, Facebook, and also work on whatever project, podcast, or article we have floating around the HackCollege domain. I usually fare pretty well in most of my classes.
- Don’t use an entire period to surf the Net all willy-nilly. Some professors don’t like laptops in smaller classes. Some professors also need to learn how to deliver a lecture. It’s a fair trade, really.
- Avoid using your laptop in any class that directly counts for a bachelor of science degree. Let’s face it, liberal arts courses require much less attention than your average math or compsci class. Unless your LaTeX skills are up to snuff, a laptop will only be a costly distraction.
- Don’t just surf. If you can also simultaneously work on something else, you’re effectively doubling your Average Productivity Quotient (the standard unit of productivity measurement among lifehackers). Work on a blog or organize your photos.
- Read the Wikipedia article concurrent to the current lecture. Not only does it give you a viable excuse if your prof ever glances at your screen, but sometimes you will (unfortunately) learn more from the Wikipedia article on the subject than you will in the lecture. I thought this wouldn’t be universally true, but the “German grammar” article is teaching me more than my current German class.
What do you do to not pay attention in class?