Laptop Danger

No, we’re not warning about computer viruses.  Inside Higher Ed yesterday had a brief note about a study indicating that students who are using laptops in class for non-class purposes – email, browsing of websites, etc. – not only are distracting themselves but also the neighboring students.

Some instructors forbid laptop use in class but the reason has typically been to avoid the negative effect on the direct user.  Now it appears there is a negative externality involved for non-users.

The Inside Higher Ed piece is at:
http://www.insidehighered.com/quicktakes/2013/03/14/danger-secondhand-laptop-browsing-students

A news release on the study is at:
http://news.yorku.ca/2013/03/13/multitasking-on-laptop-impedes-classroom-learning-york-u-study-shows/

The release refers to some advice from the researchers about classroom policy at:
http://www.yorku.ca/ncepeda/laptopFAQ.html

And the basic study is at:
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360131512002254