Monday, September 16, 2013

New survey of university students finds most want classroom policy on digital distractions yet don't want laptops banned outright

A new survey published by the U. Nebraska School of Journalism and Mass Communication entitled "Digital Distractions in the Classroom:  Student Classroom Use of Digital Devices for Non-Class Related Purposes" found that most students don't want their professors to ban laptops from the classroom yet they want them to adopt a policy on digital distractions.  More than 750 students ranging from freshman to grad students at universities in Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa, North Carolina and Mississippi participated in the survey which asked about their in-class use of digital devices for non-academic purposes.  Students were also asked to name the biggest advantages and disadvantages to using digital devices for non-academic purposes during class.  With respect to the former, the top student responses included "to stay connected" (69%), "to fight boredom" (55%) and "entertainment" (49%).  The biggest disadvantages mentioned by students included "not paying attention" (89%), "missed instruction" (80%) and "distracting others" (39%).

Here is a link to the full article followed by the abstract below.

Digital devices such as smart phones, tablets, and laptop computers are important college classroom tools. They support student learning by providing access to information outside classroom walls. However, when used for non-class purposes, digital devices may interfere with classroom learning. A survey study asked college students to describe their behavior and perceptions regarding classroom use of digital devices for non-class purposes. The respondents included 777 students at six U.S. universities. The average respondent used a digital device for non-class purposes 10.93 times during a typical school day for activities including texting, social networking, and emailing. Most respondents did so to fight boredom, entertain themselves, and stay connected to the outside world. More than 80% of the respondents indicated such behavior caused them to pay less attention in the classroom and miss instruction. A majority of respondents favor policies governing digital device distractions in the classroom.



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