From the CRLT Blog

Use of Laptops in the Classroom: Research and Best Practices

August 20, 2012
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Across campus, laptops and other mobile devices, such as iPads and smartphones, are appearing in greater numbers in the classroom. In a CTools survey of 1,415 U-M students conducted in Winter 2010, over 50% of respondents reported bringing their laptops to class at least once per week (USE Lab, Digital Media Commons, 2010). Many faculty see this trend as an opportunity for more innovative teaching, and they are exploring ways to leverage this technology to increase student engagement during lecture. However, other faculty worry about potential distractions that mobile devices could introduce into their classrooms. In this Occasional Paper, we present the results of a CRLT research study that examined student perceptions of how laptops affect attentiveness, engagement, and learning, and we suggest guidelines for using laptops and other mobile devices effectively in the classroom. As we discuss below, laptops can be an effective tool for promoting student learning if faculty plan carefully for how and when they will ask students to use their laptops, rather than simply allowing students to bring them to class.

Download the Occasional Paper PDF