The Talker: Do laptops in class lower students` grades?

The Talker: Do laptops in class lower students` grades?

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

It's back to school time and more kids than ever are bringing laptops back to the classroom.

The way students view lessons, read textbooks, and take notes has gone electronic. There's no more pencil and paper. The notebook has been replaced by the notebook computer or the tablet.

A school in Morton Grove is giving every single fourth grader a laptop for school work this fall. Having that technology at their fingertips must really enhance the whole learning environment, right?

Researchers in Canada did two experiments on this topic. In the first one, students were sent to a college lecture with laptops. They were all supposed to take notes, but half were also asked to do other things on their computers when they felt like they had some free time in class -- like search the web.

In the second experiment, students attended the same lecture. Some had laptops, but others went old school with pencils and paper to take their notes. The idea here was to see if students who had a pencil and paper would be distracted by others using laptops around them.

At the end of each experiment, all of the students took a test.

Here's what the researchers found. Students who were asked to multitask on their computers scored 11 percent lower on their test. The students with pencils and notebooks who were surrounded by laptops scored 17 percent lower.

The researchers say even they were shocked by the dramatic distraction the laptops caused -- in their words -- basically costing students a full letter grade.

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