NEW ORLEANS (Sept 27, 2018) – Students today face a major problem in the classroom: distraction from technology. Most students at Dillard were born during an era of major technological developments and are strongly attached to their electronics and struggle with moderate use and/or being without them.
We aren’t alone. A 2016 study at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln published in the Journal of Media Education of college students in 26 states found students check digital devices in class more than 11 times a day and spent 20 percent of class time using them for activities unrelated to class, mostly texting. The author, Barney McCoy, said that adds up to missing two-thirds of a year out of a four-year stint in college. Even so, most in the survey said they couldn’t or wouldn’t change their behavior.
At Dillard University, one of the most commonly enforced rules in classrooms is “no cell phones during class.” Some teachers even come up with consequences for students who use their cellphones: pop quizzes, extra assignments, removal from class and even no grade at all for attendance.
Registrar Robert Mitchell said professors don’t allow the use of devices in their classes because they believe students are not using them for educational purposes.
Access to cell phones and other electronics in class can be disruptive. Students who believe they can “multitask” are more likely to lose focus while doing assignments, homework and taking notes.
Even so, many feel like sophomore Mya Jones, who said the effect of multitasking with electronics depends on the class. She said that in more challenging classes, devices can become much more of a distraction.
Millennials have become dependent on technological devices and have not been properly taught to manage their time and use. However, prohibiting cell phones in the classroom is not the best idea. Banning cell phones from classes may prevent students from accepting urgent calls/notifications or from further researching learned materials.
Since we have had access to digital devices for the majority of our lives, professors should find effective ways to moderate use rather than ban them.