A new study from Indiana University researchers shows that students using laptops during class often do better than peers who don’t tote computers to lecture.
The study was limited to law school students, but findings show students who used laptops during class were more likely to come to school prepared and contribute to group discussions.
Lindsay Watkins is with the Law School Survey of Student Engagement and helped prepare the study.
“It’s been the topic of debate and interest among legal advocators for the past several years: What’s actually happening behind those screens?” she said.
She said the findings of the study might surprise those who see computers in the classroom as a distraction.
“Those students that use their computer for appropriate academic purposes more often benefit more than students using those same computers for the same purposes less often,” she said.
Watkins said the key to laptops in class is appropriate use, like taking notes and reviewing old course material. She said the study found students who surfed the internet or sent emails during lectures were much less engaged than their classmates.