Students’ use of laptops in class lowers grades: Canadian study

Posted on September 2nd, 2016

A recent Canadian study from the journal Computers & Education suggests that using computers during lectures may negatively affect post-secondary students’ grades. In the study, research subjects in two experiments attended a university-level lecture and completed a multiple-choice quiz on what they learned. In the first experiment, all participants used laptops to take notes. Half of the participants were also asked to complete a series of unrelated tasks, such as online searches, when they felt they had spare time. This was meant to mimic what distracted students might do during class. In the second experiment, some students used pencils and paper to take notes while others worked on laptops. “We really tried to make it pretty close to what actually happens in the lectures,” Faria Sana, co-author of the study said. “Students who multitasked performed much worse on the final test and those who were seated around peers who were multitasking also performed much worse on the final test.”