An examination of laptop-based off-task behaviours in secondary school classrooms
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The purpose of this study was to examine factors that affect secondary school students’ off-task behaviours in laptop-based classrooms. Quantitative and qualitative data were collected from 224 secondary school students from four private schools in Canada (156 males, 65 females, 3 no response). The perceived advantages of laptop use in the classroom were access to information online, the use of technology during class, and the use of specific programs and applications during course work. The perceived disadvantages of laptop use in the classroom by students were being distracted by peers and engaged in off-task behaviours. The factors that appeared to influence off-task laptop-based activities were subject area, instructional method, and gender. Gender differences were found in students’ on-task activities and off-task activities. Females reported engaging in on-task activities significantly more than males. Females also engaged significantly more frequently in social media compared to males, whereas males played games significantly more often than females. More in-depth research, perhaps in the form of interviews and discussion groups, needs to be conducted on how subject area and instructional method might influence secondary school students’ off-task behaviours.