This is Your Brain on Screens


Despite my own use of technology in and out of the classroom, I have a strong restriction against students using laptops in class. At the beginning of the semester, I want to explain my reasoning behind this policy.

I believe that it is incredibly hard not to multi-task when you are sitting in front of a screen, be it a TV or computer screen. And, although multi-tasking might feel good to some people at some moments, every piece of evidence I have ever read or experienced convinces me of the opposite. Multi-tasking hinders listening, thinking, engagement, and learning, all of which I’m trying to maximize in the classroom.

For more on this topic, check out this article about the benefits of unplugging from technology and Nicholas Carr’s work on “how the Internet is making us stupid.”

I also realize I might need to explain the title of this post -- do I? Does that make any sense to you? Like everyone in my generation, I grew up seeing this commercial on TV. I feel like “This is your brain on drugs” might be phrase that people in your generation would recognize, too, but maybe not? Here’s what I’m talking about --