A Game Changer: Assessing the Impact of the Princeton/UCLA Laptop Study on the Debate of Whether to Ban Law Student Use of Laptops During Class raises another chapter in the continuing debate regarding whether students should be permitted to use their laptops in class. Prior to the Princeton/UCLA study, the debate primarily centered around the distractive effects which laptops had on both laptop users who were engaged in activities unrelated to what was being discussed in class, and on their classmates who were sitting nearby and were distracted by the visuals and sounds emanating from the laptops. Such distractions included surfing the Internet, playing video games, and emailing others in the class.
This study reveals that even if these distractions are removed, students who use their laptops for note taking tend to simply type, verbatim, the words of their professor, without trying to understand the meaning of what their professor is actually saying. As a result, their comprehension and retention suffers.