Students who spend most of their time online have been shown to be more likely to be academically deficient, according to a new study by University of Illinois at Chicago researchers.
The findings show that students who are exposed to computerized learning systems like e-learning and video conferencing while in school are more likely than those who spend more time on the computer alone to exhibit academic deficits, according the study, which appears online this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
“There is a huge disconnect between the students who spend a great deal of time online and the students that are actually getting good grades,” said Dr. Michael McAfee, an assistant professor of education and a co-author of the study.
“They’re not getting the benefit of being online, which is a really important part of learning, but they’re not being taught in a way that’s engaging.”
McAfee and his colleagues found that students whose classrooms had more than 50 computers in their classrooms spent an average of seven hours per day online.
“We found that these students spent an astounding amount of time on computers,” McAfee said.
“And they spent a lot of time in class, which suggests that they’re very motivated to learn and that they want to learn.”
McSaufesons study also found that the most important factor in the students’ success on the Internet is their computer literacy skills.
Computer literacy is the ability to learn new computer-based tasks in a logical manner.
“The most important thing to do is have a high-level of computer literacy, not only in terms of the skill set, but also in terms, the amount of information you’re getting,” McSauffesons co-director, Mark Karpinski, said.
“That is really what is the most powerful thing you can do to boost a student’s ability to engage and get the information they need.”
The findings have implications for teachers, who often have limited resources to help students learn online, and may want to include additional classroom resources like homework help and technology support for students.
The researchers suggest that educators might look to a combination of online learning and other forms of support for their students, like homework support and access to computers, and encourage students to use them more often.
“It would be great if teachers were looking to their classroom as a classroom resource for their kids,” McInnes said.
He said the study’s findings also help to support other research suggesting that students are more interested in learning on their own time, and are less motivated to complete homework and test scores than students who use e-Learning programs or video conferees.
“I think that what we know now is that students that have access to technology and learning, are more engaged and they’re more likely and more likely academically to be successful in school,” McIngnes said, adding that it is important for teachers to work with their students to make sure they are utilizing the resources that are available to them.
“Teachers, teachers need to be on top of their students.
They need to have access so they can do what they need to do in terms in the curriculum to make it more engaging for the student.”