Students these days have ditched old-school notebooks in favor of multitasking laptops. In fact, many schools and universities even require students to bring laptops to class.
However, a new study showed that bringing such device to class may do more harm than good.
While laptops make it easier for students to take down notes, write papers, gather information and learn how to program, a study carried out by researchers at Michigan State University showed that laptop, which is a source of distraction for the user as well as those sitting nearby, can actually lead to lower grades.
Professor Susan Ravizza and a team of researchers tracked internet use of students in a big introductory psychology course. To monitor internet use, they used proxy servers that recorded all internet requests that students made during class. This allowed researchers to identify what websites students were visiting during class.
The results showed that more than one-third of the class time was spent on using the Internet for non-academic activities.
They then calculated each student’s internet use and compared it to their final exam grade. They ruled out factors such as intelligence, motivation and student’s interest.
Based on their findings, students who used the Internet more during class had lower scores in the final exam. Ravizza concluded that internet surfing for non-academic purposes is linked to lower grades.
Surprisingly, they also discovered that the use of the Internet for academic purposes or class-related information was not associated with higher scores in the final exam.
A previous study has concluded that taking notes using the laptop was less effective to writing them by hand.