Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

How laptops can enhance learning in college classrooms

Date:
May 21, 2010
Source:
University of Michigan
Summary:
Despite the distraction potential of laptops in college classrooms, new research shows that they can actually increase students' engagement, attentiveness, participation and learning.

Despite the distraction potential of laptops in college classrooms, new research shows that they can actually increase students' engagement, attentiveness, participation and learning.

Related Articles


To achieve this, however, the instructor must set the right stage, says University of Michigan professor Perry Samson.

Samson is a professor in the Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences who has received honors for his educational technology work.

He has developed robust interactive student response system called LectureTools that utilizes students' laptops. A paper about how students report that LectureTools affected their learning is published in the May edition of the journal Computers & Education.

"If you allow laptops in the classroom without a plan for how you'll use them, you can potentially invite disaster. It's unlikely that students will be so entranced by class material that they won't wander off to their favorite social networking sites," Samson said. "The key is to deliberately engage students through their computers. LectureTools does just that."

LectureTools is an interactive student response system and teaching module. Instructors at more than 400 colleges and universities have set up accounts to use it.

Samson recently surveyed close to 200 students who, over the past three semesters, have taken his Extreme Weather lecture course that utilized LectureTools. Students reported that while they did sometimes stray from in-class tasks, laptops with LectureTools made them feel more attentive, engaged and able to learn, compared with classes that don't use the system.

"Our surveys showed that while laptop computers can be a distraction, students of this generation feel that they are capable of productive multitasking," Samson said.

Through LectureTools, laptops serve as robust "clickers," providing drastically more interaction than the class polling that clicker-based student response systems offer.

LectureTools also allows students to take notes directly on lecture slides. Students can anonymously ask the instructor's aide a question through a chat window during class, and others can see these questions and answers. Students can also rate their own understanding of each slide, giving the professor valuable feedback.

"It is the first successful instance I've seen of dramatic use of information technology to augment the real-time classroom experience," said John King, vice provost for academic affairs and the William Warner Bishop Collegiate Professor of Information. "LectureTools significantly increases the interactivity between the student and the instructor without disrupting the flow of the class. The instructor gets a lot more detailed information about where the students are while maintaining normal operation in the class."

Close to half of students surveyed said that having a laptop in class increased the amount of time they spent on tasks unrelated to the lecture. But a full 78 percent agreed that laptops in class made them more engaged. Approximately half said that having their laptops made them more attentive. Seventy percent said laptops had a positive effect on their learning.

LectureTools significantly increased class participation as well. The system allows students to chat with an instructor's aide, posing questions without raising a hand and having to speak up in front of their peers.

"You can ask the dumb question without fear," Samson said.

More than half of the students asked at least one question during the semester, which is a much higher percentage than Samson saw in classes without LectureTools, he said.

The paper is called "Deliberate Engagement of Laptops in Large Lecture Classes to Improve Attentiveness and Engagement."

This research is funded by the National Science Foundation, the University of Michigan's Office of the Vice Provost for Academic Information and the Center for Research, Learning and Teaching.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Michigan. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Michigan. "How laptops can enhance learning in college classrooms." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 May 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100520161950.htm>.
University of Michigan. (2010, May 21). How laptops can enhance learning in college classrooms. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100520161950.htm
University of Michigan. "How laptops can enhance learning in college classrooms." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100520161950.htm (accessed November 24, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Computers & Math News

Monday, November 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Microsoft Adds Robot Guards, Ushers In Sci-Fi Apocalypse

Microsoft Adds Robot Guards, Ushers In Sci-Fi Apocalypse

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) Microsoft has robotic security guards working at its Silicon Valley Campus. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
European Parliament Might Call For Google's Break-Up

European Parliament Might Call For Google's Break-Up

Newsy (Nov. 22, 2014) This is the latest development in an antitrust investigation accusing Google of unfairly prioritizing own products and services in search results. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Google Announces Improvements To Balloon-Borne Wi-Fi Project

Google Announces Improvements To Balloon-Borne Wi-Fi Project

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) In a blog post, Google said its balloons have traveled 3 million kilometers since the start of Project Loon. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is Nintendo Making A Comeback With 'Super Smash Bros.'?

Is Nintendo Making A Comeback With 'Super Smash Bros.'?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Nintendo released new "Super Smash Bros." Friday, and it's getting great reviews. Could this mean a comeback for the gaming company? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins