Flanigan, who studies self-regulation, or the processes students use to achieve their learning goals, began researching digital distraction after confronting it in the classroom as a graduate instructor.
Digital distraction tempts all of us, almost everywhere. That’s the premise of Digital Minimalism: Choosing a Focused Life in a Noisy World by Cal Newport, an associate professor of computer science at Georgetown University.
The professor is upset. The professor has taken action, by banning laptops.
Bruff, whose next book, Intentional Tech: Principles to Guide the Use of Educational Technology in College Teaching, is set to be published this fall, is among the experts who think that’s a mistake. Why? Well, for one thing, he said, students are “going to have to graduate and get jobs and use laptops without being on Facebook all day.” The classroom should help prepare them for that.
When Volk teaches a course with 50 or 60 students, he said, “the idea is to keep them moving.”Shifting the focal point away from the professor can help, too. “If they are in a small group with their colleagues,” Volk said, “very rarely will I see them on their laptops doing things they shouldn’t be.”
Professors may not see themselves as performers, but if they can’t get students’ attention, nothing else they do matters. “Learning doesn’t happen without attention,” said Lang, who is writing a book about digital distraction, Teaching Distracted Minds.
One aspect of distraction Lang plans to cover in his book is its history. It’s possible, he said, to regard our smartphones as either too similar or dissimilar from the distractions of the past. And it’s important, he said, to remember how new this technology really is, and how much we still don’t know about it.
Study: Use of digital devices in class affects students’ long-term retention of information
A new study conducted by researchers at Rutgers University reveals that students who are distracted by texts, games, or videos while taking lecture notes on digital devices are far more likely to have their long-term memory affected and to perform more poorly on exams, even if short-term memory is not impacted, EdSurge reports.
Exam performance was not only poorer for students using the devices, but also for other students in classes that permitted the devices because of the distraction factor, the study found.
After conducting the study, Arnold Glass, the lead researcher, changed his own policy and no longer allows his students to take notes on digital devices.
A nationally representative Gallup poll conducted in March showed that 42% of K-12 teachers feel that the use of digital devices in the classroom are “mostly helpful” for students, while only 28% feel they are “mostly harmful.” Yet 69% of those same teachers feel the devices have a harmful impact on student mental health and 55% feel they negatively affect student physical health.
findings, published in the journal Economics of Education Review in a paper, based on an analysis of the grades of about 5,600 students at a private US liberal arts college, found that using a laptop appeared to harm the grades of male and low-performing students most significantly.
While the authors were unable to definitively say why laptop use caused a “significant negative effect in grades”, the authors believe that classroom “cyber-slacking” plays a major role in lower achievement, with wi-fi-enabled computers providing numerous distractions for students.
High schoolers assigned a laptop or a Chromebook were more likely to take notes in class, do internet research, create documents to share, collaborate with their peers on projects, check their grades and get reminders about tests or homework due dates.