Most instructors have had to think about the benefits and drawbacks of using laptop computers in class. This article by Faria Sana, Tina Weston, and Nicholas J. Cepeda is an exceptionally well done study that has a lot to say about this. The research discussed in this article looked at the impact of students having laptops in class that were being used for non-course related tasks, such as surfing the web. It examined the impacts on learning for both the students using the laptop and the students around them that could see the laptop screen. There are lots of details of how they carried out the study, but you can skip over that if you just want the important results. Those are nicely summarized by the figure on page 6 and in the general discussion on page 6 and the top of page 7.
Here are the main results:
Carl Wieman is Professor of Physics and in the School of Education.
What's your experience of students "multitasking" with laptops in class? Please comment below.