Students perform less on end-of-trimester exams if they are allowed access to an electronic device, like a phone or tablet, for non-academic purposes in the classes, according to a new study published in Educational Psychology.
In addition, when the use of electronic devices was allowed in class, the performance was also worse for students who did not use devices, as well as for those who did. This suggests that the use of the phone / tablet damages the group learning environment.
Researchers at Rutgers University, in the United States, conducted a class experiment to assess whether dividing attention between electronic devices and the teacher during class affected student performance in tests within the class and an end-of-class exam. trimester.
118 students of cognitive psychology at Rutgers University participated in the experiment during a period of their course. Laptops, phones and tablets were banned in half of the classes and allowed in the other half. When the devices were allowed, students were asked to register if they had used them for non-academic purposes during class.
The study found that having a device did not decrease student scores on comprehension tests within the master classes, but the lowest scores on the end-of-trimester exam were at least 5%. This finding shows for the first time that the main effect of Divided attention in the classroom is long-term retention.
This effect was also for the whole class, although some did not use electronic devices. To help manage the use of devices in the classroom, teachers should explain to students the harmful effect of distractions on retention, not just for them, but for the whole class.