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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Laptop use can distract more than user

Source%3A+Computers+%26+Education++Illustration+by+Hal+Duncan%2FThe+Collegian
Source: Computers & Education Illustration by Hal Duncan/The Collegian

By Ben Heath/reporter

Source: Computers & Education  Illustration by Hal Duncan/The Collegian
Source: Computers & Education Illustration by Hal Duncan/The Collegian

Laptops have replaced pen and paper for many students taking notes, but research shows that using technology during a lecture can hurt the grades of both the user and those around them.

A Canadian experiment conducted for the journal Computers & Education found students using laptops to take notes scored on average 11 percent lower than those who used pen and paper. The study also suggests that students in a class surrounded by laptop users, even when not using one themselves, scored on average 17 percent lower.

“We really didn’t think the effect would be this huge,” Faria Sana, who co-authored the study, said in the journal. “It can change your grade from a B+ to a B-.”

The problem with taking notes on a laptop is the easily available distractions such as Facebook or YouTube that can keep students from focusing on the lecture.

Those who use their laptops for personal use during class may have their grades suffer, but as the study suggests, even the students sitting around these electronic distractions suffer as well.

“One time, some kid a few rows in front of me watched three full episodes of The Office,” said SE Campus student James Garcia. “I love that show. I didn’t get anything done that day.”

These distractions have led many professors to ban all electronics during their lectures, even though some students disagree.

“I can understand [banning electronics] if it’s a math class or something, but if the class is history or psychology, I like to look things up that pertain to the lecture,” said NE Campus student Ashley Wride.

Even for the students who use their laptops and avoid these distractions, some fear they are not absorbing the same amount of information as those who handwrite their notes.

Distractions aside, some students find using their laptop provides them an advantage when taking notes.

“I used to lose my notes all the time. With my laptop, I always know where they are, and it makes it easy to share them with others,” said NE Campus student Johnny Roth.

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