Professor Richard W. Patterson
This research paper evaluates the effect of classroom computer use on academic performance. Using a quasi-experimental design and administrative data, the authors found that computer use in college classrooms has a negative impact on course grades.
The study exploits institutional policies that generate plausibly random variation in laptop use within the classroom. Compared to pupils who are not affected by computer policies, pupils who are induced to use computers in class perform significantly worse and pupils who are influenced not to use computers perform significantly better.
The authors found that the negative effects of computer use are concentrated among males and low-performing pupils and more prominent in quantitative courses.
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