When internet is used in classrooms, students tend to spend most of their time on social media, reading email, shopping for items such as clothes or watching videos, that could lead to poorer scores.
Internet’s use was a significant predictor of students’ final exam score, even when their intelligence and motivation were taken into account, said lead author Susan Ravizza, Associate Professor Michigan State University in the US.
“The detrimental relationship associated with non-academic internet use raises questions about the policy of encouraging students to bring their laptops to class when they are unnecessary for class use,” Ravizza said.
Previous research has shown that taking notes on a laptop is not as beneficial for learning as writing notes by hand.
“Once students crack their laptop open, it is probably tempting to do other sorts of internet-based tasks that are not class-relevant,” Ravizza added.
For the study, the team studied internet use on laptop in a one-hour lecture course with 127 students.
The study showed that using the internet for class purposes did not help students’ test scores.
The findings are forthcoming in the journal Psychological Science.