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Published On: Thu, Aug 30th, 2018

Ohio State: Professor Trevon Logan bans laptops from class, students excel

An economics professor at Ohio State reports that students’ grades improving significantly after he banned laptops from his class last semester.

“Student performance improved, especially on the earliest midterms. Results were significant—average scores were about half a standard deviation higher than previous offerings. This is well above the long run average in both courses— this term was an outlier,” economics Professor Trevon Logan stated on Twitter.

“The students said the policy (1) encouraged them to focus, (2) helped them take better notes, (3) kept them engaged, and (4) increased their enjoyment of the course. I did not expect this at all,” he added.

“I thought I would get much more push back on this from students, and I didn’t think student outcomes would be so significant. Given these results, I’m very encouraged to continue with the policy.”

The College Fix noted that “The debate over banning technology in the classroom is nothing new, especially when it comes to cell phones. But many teachers who forbid cell phones allow laptops for note taking. Now more scholars question whether that’s a good idea.”

photo/ StartupStockPhotos

Logan has credited the move to a Nov. 2017 op-ed in the New York Times by Susan Dynarski, professor of public policy at the University of Michigan.

Dynarski said she bans laptops, noting “a growing body of evidence shows that over all, college students learn less when they use computers or tablets during lectures. They also tend to earn worse grades. The research is unequivocal: Laptops distract from learning, both for users and for those around them.”

“Learning researchers hypothesize that, because students can type faster than they can write, a lecturer’s words flow straight from the students’ ears through their typing fingers, without stopping in the brain for substantive processing. Students writing by hand, by contrast, have to process and condense the material if their pens are to keep up with the lecture,” Dynarski wrote.

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About the Author

- Roxanne "Butter" Bracco began with the Dispatch as Pittsburgh Correspondent, but will be providing reports and insights from Washington DC, Maryland and the surrounding region. Contact Roxie aka "Butter" at [email protected] ATTN: Roxie or Butter Bracco

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