Does using a computer in class affect your learning?



Classroom boredom usually leads to texting and browsing the internet; shocking right? The use of smart phones and laptops in the classroom is debatable, but it is also doubtful that it will ever stop.

Two recent studies performed at two different universities took a look at how students were spending their time on their laptops while in class. At John Hopkins’s University a law professor hired assistants to watch over students from behind the classroom. At the University of Vermont students were persuaded to participate and allowed spyware to track their browsers during class.

While the study at John Hopkins was difficult to track as you can only watch so many computers, and can’t note how long students spent on each tab, the UVM study was able to gather more accurate data.

Distinguishing between productive and unproductive software, professors monitored students using the internet, checking email and chatting online. The average student cycled through approximately 65 new windows, of which over 40 were unproductive. The same study found that the most harmful application used during class hours was instant messaging.

However, students who checked emails and surfed the web did not show any significant decline in their grades as opposed to those who heavily used class hours for chatting sessions.

The introduction of online courses and hybrid courses has changed the way we perceive the use of these devices though. More than ever students are wired in to use their computers to communicate within the classroom, perform class work, research, and to complete exams.

So while students and professors continue to argue about whether or not to banish laptop use in the classroom, online students can rest assured this is one debate you will always win.