by a Newsnet reporter
According to a study by Professor Paul Kirschner and his team in the Netherlands, students who use Facebook and other social networking sites while revising/studying, even if it is on in the background, have exam results up to 20 per cent lower than non-users.
Many experts believe the distraction of an online experience actually promotes multi-tasking but Professor Paul Kirschner’s study suggests having Facebook online while doing exam revision actually diffuses and dilutes a student’s concentration.
Professor Paul Kirschner’s team looked at 219 American teenage students at university, aged between 19 and 54, and found Facebook users typically had, out of a total of 4, a grade point average of 3.06. whereas non-users had an average GPA of 3.82. Parents have long feared teenagers revising in front of the internet gives rise to ‘cursory reading, hurried and distracted thinking, superficial learning’ and it turns out they’re right. Younger pupils can be expected to perform similarly.
Surprisingly, three out of 4 Facebook users didn’t think Facebook affected their academic performance but these results show the opposite to be true. The common belief that constant task-switching allows students to get more done in less time is wrong; in fact this approach to work lengthens the amount of time required to do tasks and leads to an increased number of mistakes.
Students not using the site spent 88 per cent more time studying outside the classroom.
Professor Kirschner underlined he was not in any way ‘demonising’ Facebook per se but rather in drawing his conclusion he said : “We should resist the fashionable views of educational gurus that children can multi-task, and that we should adapt our education systems accordingly to keep up with the times.”