Welcome to The CITE -- a blog on Course materials, Innovation, and Technology in Education, created by Mark Nelson and now part of the Publications Department of the National Association of College Stores. CITE is a pun with multiple meanings - referring to cite as in citation, something people reference; site as in location, website, or place people go to; and sight as in foresight or looking ahead to what is coming. Comments, discussion, feedback and ideas are welcome.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Laptop Note-Takers Don't Absorb Much

Dan Rockmore, a professor of computer science at Dartmouth College, made his case for banning laptops in the classroom in The New Yorker magazine. A study done at Michigan State University suggested that Rockmore might have a point.

The MSU study focused on the nonacademic Internet use of 500 students in an introductory psychology class and used ACT scores to determine the intellectual ability of each student. Past research indicated smarter students tend to be better at filtering out distractions and score better on tests.

Instead, the study found the more all students used the Internet for nonacademic purposes in class, the lower exam scores. It also showed that students didn’t believe their Internet use in class would have an effect on their classroom performance.

Another study found that students using laptops for taking notes write more but retain less than those who write out their notes with pen and paper. Researchers found that students who type notes don’t always mentally process the information.

“They tend to try to write everything down instead of trying to sort out what’s important and what’s not,” Pam Mueller, a Princeton grad student, told The Toronto Star. Mueller teamed with UCLA psychology professor Daniel Oppenheimer on the study The Pen is Mightier Than the Keyboard: Advantages of Longhand Over Laptop Note Taking.

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