Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

How laptops can enhance learning in college classrooms

21.05.2010
Despite the distraction potential of laptops in college classrooms, new research shows that they can actually increase students' engagement, attentiveness, participation and learning.

To achieve this, however, the instructor must set the right stage, says University of Michigan professor Perry Samson.

Samson is a professor in the Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Sciences who has received honors for his educational technology work.

He has developed robust interactive student response system called LectureTools that utilizes students' laptops. A paper about how students report that LectureTools affected their learning is published in the May edition of the journal Computers & Education.

"If you allow laptops in the classroom without a plan for how you'll use them, you can potentially invite disaster. It's unlikely that students will be so entranced by class material that they won't wander off to their favorite social networking sites," Samson said. "The key is to deliberately engage students through their computers. LectureTools does just that."

LectureTools is an interactive student response system and teaching module. Instructors at more than 400 colleges and universities have set up accounts to use it.

Samson recently surveyed close to 200 students who, over the past three semesters, have taken his Extreme Weather lecture course that utilized LectureTools. Students reported that while they did sometimes stray from in-class tasks, laptops with LectureTools made them feel more attentive, engaged and able to learn, compared with classes that don't use the system.

"Our surveys showed that while laptop computers can be a distraction, students of this generation feel that they are capable of productive multitasking," Samson said.

Through LectureTools, laptops serve as robust "clickers," providing drastically more interaction than the class polling that clicker-based student response systems offer.

LectureTools also allows students to take notes directly on lecture slides. Students can anonymously ask the instructor's aide a question through a chat window during class, and others can see these questions and answers. Students can also rate their own understanding of each slide, giving the professor valuable feedback.

"It is the first successful instance I've seen of dramatic use of information technology to augment the real-time classroom experience," said John King, vice provost for academic affairs and the William Warner Bishop Collegiate Professor of Information. "LectureTools significantly increases the interactivity between the student and the instructor without disrupting the flow of the class. The instructor gets a lot more detailed information about where the students are while maintaining normal operation in the class."

Close to half of students surveyed said that having a laptop in class increased the amount of time they spent on tasks unrelated to the lecture. But a full 78 percent agreed that laptops in class made them more engaged. Approximately half said that having their laptops made them more attentive. Seventy percent said laptops had a positive effect on their learning.

LectureTools significantly increased class participation as well. The system allows students to chat with an instructor's aide, posing questions without raising a hand and having to speak up in front of their peers.

"You can ask the dumb question without fear," Samson said.

More than half of the students asked at least one question during the semester, which is a much higher percentage than Samson saw in classes without LectureTools, he said.

The paper is called "Deliberate Engagement of Laptops in Large Lecture Classes to Improve Attentiveness and Engagement."

This research is funded by the National Science Foundation, the University of Michigan's Office of the Vice Provost for Academic Information and the Center for Research, Learning and Teaching.

Michigan Engineering: The University of Michigan College of Engineering is ranked among the top engineering schools in the country. At $160 million annually, its engineering research budget is one of largest of any public university. Michigan Engineering is home to 11 academic departments and a National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center. The college plays a leading role in the Michigan Memorial Phoenix Energy Institute and hosts the world class Lurie Nanofabrication Facility.

Contact: Nicole Casal Moore
Phone: (734) 647-7087
Or
Contact: Mary Nehls-Frumkin

Nicole Casal Moore | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.engin.umich.edu

More articles from Science Education:

nachricht New Master’s programme: University of Kaiserslautern educates experts in quantum technology
15.03.2017 | Technische Universität Kaiserslautern

nachricht Decision-making research in children: Rules of thumb are learned with time
19.10.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung

All articles from Science Education >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: A Challenging European Research Project to Develop New Tiny Microscopes

The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.

To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers shoot for success with simulations of laser pulse-material interactions

29.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Igniting a solar flare in the corona with lower-atmosphere kindling

29.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

As sea level rises, much of Honolulu and Waikiki vulnerable to groundwater inundation

29.03.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>