Many universities encourage students to purchase laptops that they can bring to class. Don’t take a laptop to class. Professor reveals how technology can lower grades.
There is no doubt that having a desktop computer or laptop in school is useful for writing papers, gathering information and learning how to program and use software.
An associate professor of psychology at the Michigan State University conducted a study showing that using laptops in class is associated with lower exam grades. Laptops in class are a source of distraction not only for the students that bring them but also for the ones sitting nearby.
At an average one-third of the class time is spent on internet activities that are not even relevant to the class. The study concluded that the students that surfed the internet the most were more likely to score low in exams.
If the internet use in class was nonacademic, it predicted lower scores irrespective of motivation, interest or intelligence of the student. Even if the browsing was academic, it does not lead to higher scores.
Distractions have always been a part of a classroom, may it be handwritten notes, doodles or even cell phones. Such distractions are noticeable, but in the case of a laptop, it is very hard to tell what students are doing on the laptop.
There are other other downsides as well of laptop use in class: Taking notes on a computer has even been shown to be less effective for learning than writing them by hand.
Researchers have found that writing notes by hand forces students to think more deeply about the material because they have to paraphrase what has been said.