Wednesday, August 31, 2016
A recent study at West Point has shown that using computers in class for whatever purpose harms performance, and the more intelligent the student, the worse the problem:
Now there is an answer, thanks to a big, new experiment from economists at West Point, who randomly banned computers from some sections of a popular economics course this past year at the military academy. One-third of the sections could use laptops or tablets to take notes during lecture; one-third could use tablets, but only to look at class materials; and one-third were prohibited from using any technology.The story blames the devices for distracting students and concludes by cautioning that, "multitasking doesn't work." Based on other results concerning how computers might actually hamper note-taking, I'd say taking one to class is generally a bad idea.
Unsurprisingly, the students who were allowed to use laptops -- and 80 percent of them did -- scored worse on the final exam. What's interesting is that the smartest students seemed to be harmed the most. [bold added, link dropped]