Wednesday, December 15, 2010
As I survey the literature, I see a consensus emerging that whether we're talking about p-books versus e-books or internet access versus no internet access, a consensus is emerging among experts that professors need to place limits on how and when technology is used in the classroom. Here's more support for that position - an article entitled "The Impact of Web Browsing on Classroom Learning Performance" published in 11 Issues in Information Systems 460 (2010). From the abstract:
In a growing number of classes, students have internet access through laptop or laboratory computers. Internet access could enhance student learning by allowing them to read online course materials provided by the instructor plus other material relevant to the course. However, students may be distracted from the class by surfing the Internet, chatting online, checking emails, and so on. Therefore, one may wonder, on balance, whether or not Internet access is beneficial to learning. This study employed a controlled experiment to investigate how Internet access influences classroom learning. Browsing non-class web sites during class time had a detrimental effect on students’ learning, but student access to class-related web sites improved it. Therefore instructors should consider using control mechanisms to block access to non-class web sites during class lectures. Students should be encouraged to browse through slides while listening to the lecture.
You can read the full article here.