Using Laptops In Class Impacts Test Scores For Students And People Nearby In Lectures

Laptops In Class: 'I Can Tell When Someone Is Watching Kittens'

There's a good reason why laptops shouldn't be used in class, according to some faculty who spoke with HuffPost Live Monday, and it has more to do with the people who leave their computers at home.

Erik Angner, a professor at George Mason University, noted the moving image on someone's computer screen can be distracting for students around them not using a laptop.

"I can tell when somebody's watching kittens on their laptop, and there's an entire sector behind them of students who can't focus," Angner said. "It's not the paternalism that motivates ... it's the fact that they bother all these other students who have trouble focusing and are there to learn."

In fact, new research from Michigan State University published in the journal Computers & Education backs up Angner's exact concern about students screwing around on Facebook in class instead of paying attention.

MSU researchers found the more students used the Internet for non-academic purposes -- like reading the news and checking email and Facebook -- the lower their exam scores were. Not only that, but learners in-view of people using laptops for non-academic reasons also had reduced comprehension of lecture material, the study found.

But the study's authors weren't sure there's really a way to totally stop students from using technology in class.

"What would you do, have hundreds of people put their cell phones in a pile and pick them up after class?" asked Susan Ravizza, the lead investigator and an associate professor at MSU. Not to mention cell phones are now a primary source of receiving emergency messages.

Watch the video above for a discussion on HuffPost Live about using laptops in class.

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