Doing Life Together

office-583841_1920You bring your laptops to class. It’s a given, right? And some of your classmates may actually be using them for the classwork being discussed.

I often sit at the back of the lecture hall when another professor is lecturing. I can see the students on their computers while the lecture is being given. Some have downloaded the power point and are following along. Others are on Facebook, Amazon, shopping, and doing various other things. I often wonder, how is this impacting student learning? Is this helping or hurting the students?

Researchers at Michigan State studied the impact of laptops on student learning and found interesting results. Apparently, good grades and laptop usage do not go together.

According to their study, if you want to excel, close the lid and pay attention in class. Even if you open your laptop to download the slides, it impedes learning.

Researchers found that surfing the Internet in class was linked to poorer scores, even among motivated and bright students. Students who logged in were zoned out, surfing social media, buying on-line and doing other distracting activities.

In the study of undergraduates in a 50 minute class, students spent an average of 37 minutes surfing the net unrelated to class. So while the idea of perhaps taking notes on your laptop (not as effective as hand writing notes) may be the purpose of opening the computer, the temptation of distraction appears to be great. And that distraction is impeding learning. Perhaps professors need to rethink how laptops are used in class, especially if there are no assignments related to using laptops.

And if you are a student, try closing the lid and giving your full attention to the professor. It just might make a difference in your test scores and actual learning. Once again, technology can be a great thing, but can also be an unnecessary distraction.

Join the Discussion
comments powered by Disqus