57 J. Legal Educ. 477 (2007)
Banning Laptops in the Classroom: Is It Worth the Hassles

handle is hein.journals/jled57 and id is 485 raw text is: Banning Laptops in the Classroom:
Is it Worth the Hassles?
Kevin Yamamoto
Can you repeat the question please? This phrase is uttered by more and
more law students around the country.' Why is this happening? Is it a new
phrase like the lingo used in an Instant Message? I and others believe its per-
vasiveness is due primarily to the proliferation of laptops in the classroom.
The use of laptops is linked not only to poor classroom discussion but also to
decreased bar passage rates across the country?2
If laptops are causing new problems, or exacerbating old ones, a simple
answer is to ban laptops from the classroom. I tried this solution for the first
time in my Federal Income Tax class in 20oo6. This article describes my expe-
rience and provides scientific studies to support my decision. Federal Income
Taxation is a required second-year course at South Texas College of Law. I
banned laptop use in the classroom to see the effects on classroom discus-
sion, students' performance when called upon, and their proficiency with the
material on the final. Overall, I was very pleased with the results.
I am writing this paper as a guide for those who are considering banning
laptops and to provide additional reasons and encouragement to those who
have already done so. For those who are considering it, I offer my experiences
in implementing the ban, which for the most part went very well. I give my
impressions of the class in general and how teaching was different with no
laptops in the room. I refer to significant cognitive learning research studies
that support, at the minimum, heavy restrictions on students' laptop use in
class or even an outright ban. Many professors intuitively believe that laptop
use should be restricted, and I hope to provide them with evidence that will
encourage them to restrict laptop use in their classrooms.
Kevin Yamamoto is a professor of law at the South Texas College of Law, Houston, Texas.
I.  See, e.g., David Cole, Laptops vs. Learning, Wash. Post, Apr. 7, 2007, at A13 (a Georgetown
University law professor reporting that this is the most common response to his questions).
2.  See Lorenzo A. Trujillo, The Relationship between Law School and the Bar Exam: A Look
at Assessment and Student Success, 78 U. Colo. L. Rev. 69, 73 (2007) (noting that the
introduction of laptops in the classroom coincides with the national decline in bar passage

Joumal of Legal Education, Volume 57, Number 4 (December 2007)

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