Given the rash of instructors banning laptops in classrooms, it is good to see an article in a mainstream source like Yahoo! News encouraging people to rethink the use of technology and to make good/appropriate use of it:
So what does a classroom look like when laptops have been successfully integrated?Students are working individually or in small teams to solve engaging problems or answer compelling questions. They are synthesizing their own experience, ideas from the professor, and sources that they can find on the Web. They are talking with classmates, but they are also collaborating with people outside the classroom walls by e-mailing experts, posting to blogs, or editing pages on wikis (websites that allow users to add, remove, or edit content). The teacher has come down from the lectern and is moving throughout the room, watching what students are doing, asking questions, posing challenges, and brushing shoulders with the student who just checked the scores on ESPN.com.
Periodically the action is stopped. The teacher instructs the class to close their laptops, except perhaps one designated scribe. They talk. They share their insights, their solutions, and their obstacles. The Socratic exchange is fueled by the insights developed through electronic inquiry. The powerful face-to-face questioning isn’t competing with the laptops; instead, it depends on it. When the dialogue ends, the teacher encourages students to reopen their notebook computers and summarize the important points of the conversation. Sometimes the instructor is delivering content, but more often the teacher is helping students learn how to learn.
[as seen on Working in Ed Tech]