The college years are an exciting time in a student’s life, as they present opportunities for transition, growth, and learning. However, authors Ronny Bruffaerts et al. remark that the college years are also a “peak period for the first onset of a broad range of mental disorders” (97). Indeed, previous studies have revealed that up to 50% of college students may have one or more common mental health problems (97). These students are twice as likely to drop out of college without earning a degree, compared to their peers who do not have mental disorders (97).
In their paper, “Mental health problems in college freshmen: Prevalence and academic functioning,” Bruffaerts et al. examine the pervasiveness of mental health problems in college freshmen and how those mental health problems affect student academic functioning.
Should Students Take Notes on Laptops? Research Says ‘No’.
Given the ubiquity of mobile technologies in today’s society, many teachers are interested in incorporating devices into the classroom setting. This may be through direct use of technology in a lesson plan or by simply allowing students to take notes on laptops in class. In their paper, “The Pen Is Mightier Than the Keyboard: Advantages of Longhand Over Laptop Note Taking,” Pam A. Mueller and Daniel M. Oppenheimer note that although students believe that their use of laptops in class is beneficial overall, students on laptops are generally not on task during lectures (1159). Moreover, students who use laptops in class have decreased academic performance (due to multi-tasking and internet browsing) and actually report being less satisfied with their education than students who do not use laptops in class (1159).
In this paper, Mueller and Oppenheimer posit that, “even when distractions are controlled for, laptop use might impair performance by affecting the manner and quality of in-class note taking” (1159). In particular, laptop use has been linked to verbatim note-taking, since students can type faster than they can write (1160). Compared to students who paraphrase notes, students who type verbatim notes have poorer academic performance.
The Effect of Social Networking on Academic Achievement
Twitter. Instagram. Facebook. The amount of time that students spend social networking has become a concern for parents, teachers, and even for students themselves. In their paper, “Effect of online social networking on student academic performance,” Jomon Aliyas Paul et al. explain that, in particular, students’ time spent on online social networking (OSN) both in and out of the classroom negatively effects their academic performance. The authors begin their paper with a walk through a typical undergraduate classroom, where at least half of the students have laptops out and most of the students have smart phones by their side. While these students claim to be taking notes, one could observe that they are often online, and are very often on Facebook. The authors explain that this kind of behavior is not only distracting for the offenders—noting that they tend to ask more questions about things the professor has covered earlier—but it is also distracting to other students in class. The readers are asked to think about several questions, namely whether technology should be allowed in classrooms if it is not an essential part of the lesson (2117).