Regardless of the reason for internet use during class, it is clear that students are not experiencing the oft-touted benefits of laptop use in class. They spend minimal time accessing supplemental course material or surfing the web for content related to the ongoing lecture, and these activities do not appear to enhance course performance. Although students may use the internet to download slides and take notes, related research shows that taking notes by hand is more effective than doing so with a laptop. Thus, there seems to be little upside to laptop use in class, while there is clearly a downside. Students are distracting themselves for significant periods of class time by using laptops to surf social media sites, visit chat rooms, watch videos, and play games, and these activities harm the learning process. Furthermore, related research suggests that multitasking laptop users also distract their classmates, as peers with a direct view of those laptops suffer academically. Perhaps it is time for students to consider going “old school,” and adding one more item to their shopping wish lists: a good old fashioned spiral notebook.
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