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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Should teachers ban spiral notebooks?

Should schools ban spiral notebooks? After all, writes Thomas Arnett of the Christensen Institute, students often use them “to scribble or doodle, pass messages to their friends, or construct wads, planes, and spitball projectiles.” They can be a distraction.

Some K-12 and college teachers are banning devices to deal with 

digital distraction, Arnett writes. A study found college students allowed to use computers in class earned lower scores on their final exams than students in classes where laptops were forbidden.

Like spiral notebooks, digital devices can be good or bad for learning, Arnett concludes.

For example, gaming apps and social media notifications are notorious thieves of students’ attention. Thus, before bringing devices into classrooms, our administrators, teachers, parents, and students need to figure out the combination of rules, norms, filters, and device management software that will keep these distractions at bay.

When schools “drop devices into traditional classrooms,” it adds “more complication and frustration for teachers with little corresponding upside,” he concludes. “As Michael Horn and Tom Vander Ark each point out, devices have the greatest net effect when schools leverage them to design new instructional models.”

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