Trinity Integrated Skills in English B2, Reading / Writing task 3

B2 level

Use the information from the four texts below to write an essay (150-180 words), presenting the arguments for and against banning laptops in class.

Text A

My laptop had developed some kind of glitch and so I’d had to send it off to be repaired. That meant that when it came to my psychology class at college, I had to resort to the more traditional approach of note-taking – pen and paper. I was expecting the experience to be a rather frustrating one, but as a matter of fact, I found it quite the opposite. I seemed to get a lot more from the lecture that day, as if writing things down by hand allowed me to process and consider what I was hearing more than typing did.
As it happens, I’m not the only one to think so. A recent study has found that people remember lectures better when they’ve taken handwritten notes rather than typed ones. The reason? Well, the students using laptops tended to transcribe the speakers’ speech word for word, as many could generally type fast enough to do. By hand, it just wasn’t possible to capture every word. They had to be judicious with regards to what they chose to record, that is, they had to go through a second mental process. That selectivity, it seemed, led to long-term comprehension.

Text B


Text C

I interviewed Tom Wheeler, a maths professor at Harfield College, about what he thinks of the college’s new ban on using laptops in class.
Well, actually, I restricted the use of laptops in my lessons long before the ban came in. Because of the subject I teach, which involves lots of graphs and symbols, any advantage that might be gained from having a machine at the ready for taking notes is negligible at best.  There isn’t really any basic software out there that aids students to type out these notation-laden sentences. Meanwhile, the temptation for distraction is high. Later on, when I read a study from Cornell University, I knew I had taken the right approach. In this study, half of a class were allowed unfettered access to their computers during a lecture while the other half was not.  After the lecture, the students had to take part in a quiz, and the disconnected students did better, across the board. It proved what I’d always suspected anyway - that multitasking decreases task performance.

Text D


Our school has banned all students from using Smartphones and laptops in class! It’s absolutely ridiculous!


What’s so ridiculous about that? Students can concentrate far better without them.


I don’t agree. I can type far faster than I can write. And before, I could take a picture of the teacher’s notes on the board and focus what he was saying. Now I spend all the time scribbling notes down frantically, which later I find are barely legible!


Well, loads of the students in my classes spend time playing games or writing messages to each other. It’s very annoying. That’s why my teacher always suggests the people without laptops sit at the front, where we can’t see their screens.


The type of students who get distracted by laptops and Smartphones will only get distracted by something else if you take those machines away from them.  Some kids just aren’t interested in learning. But the rest of us shouldn’t suffer because of them.


I see your point. Maybe teachers should give students more advice on how to use their laptops and phones effectively.   


Yes, or devise activities in class that incorporate the technology into the lesson to ensure that students are using them appropriately.  But just banning this technology is just silly. Everyone else is using it, so why shouldn’t we?

Use the information from the four texts above to write an essay (150-180 words), presenting the arguments for and against banning laptops in class.