If you are leading a class and imagine that students seem more distracted than ever by their digital devices, it’s not your imagination. And they aren’t just checking their e-mail a single time.
A new study has found that more than 90 percent of students admit to using their devices for non-class activities during class times. Less than 8 percent said that they never do so, reports InsideHigherEd..
“The study is based on a survey of 777 students at six colleges and universities. Barney McCoy, associate professor of broadcasting at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, conducted the study and The Journal of Media Education has just published the results. Most of the students were undergraduates, and graduate students were less likely to use their devices for non-class purposes. Undergraduates reporting using their devices for non-class purposes 11 times a day, on average, compared to 4 times a day for graduate students.
“Asked why they were using their devices in class, the top answer was texting (86 percent), followed by checking the time (79 percent). e-mail (68 percent), social networking (66 percent), web surfing (38 percent) and games (8 percent).While students admitted to being somewhat distracted by their own devices and those of others, they reported advantages to using the devices in class. The top advantages they cited were staying connected (70 percent), avoiding boredom (55 percent) and doing related classwork (49 percent).Texting in class is a source of constant frustration to professors, but about 30 percent of students reported that their instructors did not have a policy on the subject. (Of course there is a chance some of those students didn’t read the syllabus.)