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Comunicar Journal 64: Children, youth and media in the era of smart devices: Risks, threats and opportunities (Vol. 28 - 2020)

School performance: New multimedia resources versus traditional notes


Daniel Halpern

Martina Piña

Constanza Ortega-Gunckel


With the increasing adoption of information and communication technologies among youngsters, it has become common for high school students to incorporate the use of multiple devices and digital platforms in their study habits. Although these digital resources support and motivate them to learn, these are also a source of continuous distraction. This research analyzes the impact of studying with handwritten notes, WhatsApp, YouTube and searching the Internet in academic performance, through a mixed method that combines 31 focus groups and a survey of 7,217 students from 12 to 18 years of age in Chile. The results of the focus groups show that the positive impact of technologies in learning would depend on the students’ motivation for learning, their ability to efficiently control and manage the available digital resources, and their capacity to search and evaluate information on the Internet. The survey concludes that those who study with their notes more frequently have better academic performance, whereas those who frequently study with YouTube and WhatsApp have a lower GPA, with no significant differences when it comes to internet browsing. These results reinforce the need raised by scholars to generate policies that promote digital literacy both inside and outside the school.


WhatsApp, YouTube, Google, Internet, learning, academic performance, ICT adoption, digital literacy.

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