Do all those laptops help?
In the Chronicle of Higher Education today there's a report questioning whether using a laptop computer improves student performance:
To the hundreds of colleges that require students to buy or lease laptops, it may seem like a no-brainer: Supply a student with a portable computer, and surely he or she will reap some educational benefits.
But a laptop's value isn't so cut and dried, according to a study conducted by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University.
The study, which is described as one of the first systematic efforts to figure out how students use their laptop computers, came up with the uncontroversial finding that the machines give users more flexibility in choosing where and when to study. But the researchers found no evidence that the computers improved students' work.
In fact, a report on the study says, students with laptops tend to spend "significantly more time" working on assignments than other students do. But that extra time is not reflected in their finished products: Students with laptops get roughly the same grades as those who trek to computer labs. Instead of saving time, the report argues, laptop users are often killing it -- firing off e-mail messages, sending instant messages, and surfing the Web.
Laptop-users in J676, comments?