Zhu, E., Kaplan, M., Dershimer, R. C., & Bergom, I. (2013). Use of laptops in the classroom: Research and best practices. Center for Research on Learning and Teaching: University of Michigan.
Authors stress that positive associations between laptop usage and student learning or grades involved courses in which the integration of technology had received significant attention from faculty. Engagement, learning, and attentiveness can all be significantly enhanced with use of technology in the classroom. This article offers a good list of best practices in integrating technology into the classroom. Software discussed: LectureTools, Poll Everywhere, Google Moderator, Live Question Tool.
Samson, P.J. (2010). Deliberate engagement of laptops in large lecture classes to improve attentiveness and engagement. Computers in Education, 20(2).
LectureTools was used in a large introductory science course at the University of Michigan where students self-reported that "science does not come easily." Students reported that they were more attentive and engaged in class, and that the technology had a positive influence on their learning (as opposed to large classes where they did not use LectureTools). Authors stress that "deliberate" use of laptops in lecture classes (where laptops are deliberately engaged in the conduct of the course) can increase constructive discourse between students and instructors.
Poling, K., Smit, J., & Higgs, D. (2013). In-class use of laptop computers to enhance engagement within an undergraduate biology curriculum: Findings and lessons learned. Bioscience Education, 21(1), 29-41.
Majority of students scored the use of laptops in favorable terms for enhancing their critical thinking, engagement, and comprehension. Tools used in this study: Classroom Presenter and Ink Survey. Benefit to instructors: laptop computers allowed for immediate feedback to gauge how well students comprehended material, and allowed instructors to spend extra time on difficult concepts when necessary. Increased constructive in-class interaction between students and instructors.
Enriquez, A. G. (2010). Enhancing student performance using tablet computers. College Teaching, 58, 77-84.
Used wireless tablet PCs to create an Interactive Learning Network (ILN) in a sophomore level required engineering course. An ILN enhances instructor's ability to solicit active participation from all students, conduct immediate assessment of student learning, and provide real-time feedback to maximize student learning. Software application used: NetSupport School. Finding: students in ILN classes performed better and engaged more in the class than did students in the same class that did not use wireless tablet PCs and an ILN.
Kay, R. H., & Lauricella, S. (2011). Exploring the benefits and challenges of using laptop computers in higher education classrooms: A formative analysis. Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology, 37(1), 1-18.
Finds that based on student self-reports, the benefits of using laptop computers in class far outweigh the challenges. However, the challenges are always there. Largest benefit for students: ease of note-taking. Other benefits: in-class activities, communicating with peers and instructor about course material. Challenges: easy to be distracted by the internet and using the laptop for personal use during class.
Dale, V.H.M., Britton, J., Dewitz, J., & Whyndham, M. (2013). A pilot evaluation study using LectureTools to enhance interactivity in classroom-based teaching in a project management course. Working Paper.
Students self reported that LectureTools was stimluating and engaging, made lecture more interesting, facilitated note-taking, helped stimulate discussion, aided in exam preparation, and would be a welcome addition to lectures in general. Instructors self reported: Learning curve with the technology, didn't utilize all features of LectureTools, difficulty to watch the main dashboard while teaching, and less eye-contact from students because they were all looking at their monitors.