The golden rules of laptop use in classrooms

(Moji Ogunleye)

Nikki Jagerman

If you’re going to sit in the front of class with a laptop – no, make that anywhere in class – people are going to look onto your screen. They can’t help themselves.

Whether you’re taking notes or on the Internet, they’re going to look at what you’re doing.

There really should be rules for people with laptops, the first being the most obvious: sit in the back where people can’t look over your shoulder.

You would think those sitting toward the front would be the least likely to be doing things that are unrelated to class on their screen, but we’ve all bore witness to classmates that prove otherwise. Last semester, I was hypnotized by the screen of a girl who played Tetris from the time she sat down until she left. This semester, I’ve seen quite a few drunken pictures on Facebook thanks to a guy sitting directly in front of me. It’s a little distracting.

The next rule also seems like a given: turn off the sound. The panic attack the person has when they realize their mistake and frantically turns the speakers off is way more gratifying than the girl that has to dig through her purse and eventually pour everything out to stop her cell phone from continuing to play “Soldier Boy.” Don Imus’ career would be rolling over in its grave if it got word that the lyrics “superman that hoe” are less embarrassing to female college students than a laptop playing one of those idiotic but somehow relatively famous YouTube videos at full volume.

This leads to the next proposed rule: don’t look at anything that may make you laugh. People that cackle to themselves in front of computer screens are weird. Most try to suppress their laughter but inevitably fail to because for some reason they’re still looking at whatever was making them laugh.

Haven’t had enough yet?

It’s not like everyone in class is looking at you and rolling their eyes at each other. Just don’t be surprised when everyone quickly groups up for projects and no one has room for you.

It’s not that on-lookers are naturally nosey or care about what you’re looking at; computers are distracting. If you took a visual poll of the classroom, you’d see that just about everyone sitting near a laptop is looking at the screen.

Follow these rules and not only will your classmates appreciate it, all of your drunk and hot Facebook friends will too.