EDITORIAL: Stay offline or stay home

With great power comes great responsibility.

These timeless words  (thanks, Uncle Ben) should be pondered by every Marquette student debating how best to spend their time in class.

Increasingly, professors are fighting back against students’ waning attention spans by banning personal uses of technology within the classroom.

This backlash is an effort to keep students engaged during class, since it would appear the cost of tuition and the education actually gained during a course are not reason enough for students to pay attention.

And never mind the fact that the instructors and professors teaching these courses have put significant amounts of time and effort into trying to help students learn.

More and more students are letting technology distract them during class, and this hurts everyone at Marquette.

At the top of the list are the students who might suffer in class by abusing technology, since they could miss crucial information given during lessons while surfing the web.

Perhaps more importantly, these people also suffer by failing to get their money’s worth out of what is by no means a cheap education.

Someone who chooses to spend class time texting, using Facebook or playing games (we get it, Bubble Spinner is insanely addictive) certainly has no right to then complain about Marquette’s constantly increasing tuition.

However, even those who choose to use technology responsibly and productively during class may be hurt by those who do not.

Overuse of laptops in particular can be extremely distracting to other students. Who hasn’t been hypnotized by someone in the front row watching a random YouTube video about cuddly kittens? Such displays naturally draw our eyes.

But when those YouTubers prove the cliché that “one bad apple ruins the whole bunch” true, and professors are forced to ban all technology outright, those blameless students suffer far greater penalties.

While such a ban may keep some from doing nothing but text their friends during class, it also eliminates students’ abilities to use learning tools like voice recorders and laptops. For some students, a voice recorder is a critical study aid in helping them make sure they don’t miss important components of a lecture.

Arguably even more crucial are laptops, which allow students to take faster and more accurate notes during a lecture. They also help eliminate the waste of money and paper associated with having to print lengthy documents for use during class.

Laptops deserve a legitimate function in the classroom, but it’s hard for professors to appreciate this when it appears no one is using them for such ends.

Let’s lay down the facts. This is college, not high school. You’re not going to get detention for texting during class, nor are your parents here to reprimand you for not focusing on your studies.

But because this is college, you can choose whether or not coming to class is even worth the effort. If you’re just going to be on Facebook the entire time, why not stay home and save yourself the trouble and your classmates the distraction?

Most importantly, you ought to think very carefully about what you’re doing with the money you — or someone else — is spending on your education.

If your classes are not worth your attention, what in the world are you paying nearly $40,000 a year to be here for?

On behalf of all of us for whom the use of personal technology in the classroom is still critical, please, play FarmVille on your own time.