The researchers at the Michigan State University studied laptop usage in an introductory psychology course. Analysis was done by logging onto a proxy server whenever a student went online. The intelligence and motivation levels of these students were measured by their ACT scores and an online survey respectively.
The researchers found that they averagely spent 37 minutes for browsing non-class related matters in a 1 hour, 50 minutes class session. Most of this time was spent on reading emails, social media, shopping products, and watching videos. Correspondingly, they also found that the academic performance of these students suffered. Even the most motivated and intelligent pupils scored low in the final exam due to internet usage.
Taking of this, Susan Ravizza, the lead author of this research who is an associate professor of psychology said that this detrimental effect of non-academic internet usage makes us re-think whether we should encourage the policy of allowing students to bring their laptops to class.
The findings of this National Science Foundation funded study is soon to be published as an article titled “Logged in and zoned out: How laptop internet use impacts classroom learning” in the journal Psychological Science.