Those who don’t use these gadgets but attend classes where they are allowed also perform poor, suggesting that gadget-use damages the ability to retain information in such environments.
Researchers from Rutgers University performed experiments on 118 students to test whether dividing attention between electronic devices and the lecturer during the class reflected on academic performance in tests and an end of term examinations.
Laptops, phones and tablets were banned in half of the lectures and permitted in the other half, during a particular term.
When the gadgets were allowed, the students indicated whether they had used them for non-academic purposes during the classes.
It was observed that having a device didn’t reduce students’ scores in comprehension tests within lectures, but it reduced the scores at the end of the term examination by at least five percent, implying that the main effect of using gadgets in the classroom is on long-term retention.
“These findings should alert the many dedicated students and instructors that dividing attention is having an insidious effect that is impairing their exam performance and final grade”, said Arnold Glass, a professor and lead author on the study.