Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Multitasking Is Just Another Word For "Goofing Off"

Here's another reason not to allow students to use their phones in class:

For a quarter of an hour, the investigators from the lab of Larry Rosen, a psychology professor at California State University–Dominguez Hills, marked down once a minute what the students were doing as they studied. A checklist on the form included: reading a book, writing on paper, typing on the computer—and also using email, looking at Facebook, engaging in instant messaging, texting, talking on the phone, watching television, listening to music, surfing the Web. Sitting unobtrusively at the back of the room, the observers counted the number of windows open on the students’ screens and noted whether the students were wearing earbuds.

Although the students had been told at the outset that they should “study something important, including homework, an upcoming examination or project, or reading a book for a course,” it wasn’t long before their attention drifted: Students’ “on-task behavior” started declining around the two-minute mark as they began responding to arriving texts or checking their Facebook feeds. By the time the 15 minutes were up, they had spent only about 65 percent of the observation period actually doing their schoolwork.
Allow me to share my personal experience here. 

I've always been a fairly academically-oriented guy.  I've always gotten good grades, and even now, pursuing my master's degree via distance learning, I'm still striving.  I'm about as motivated a student as you're going to get.  My classes are delivered via video over the internet--imagine watching a video of a math lecture!--and even I, Mr. Motivated, will switch over to Instapundit or Facebook or email for a moment once in awhile.  If I, with all I have going for me, can be distracted during from class, what hope does your average high school or college student have?


Left Coast Ref said...

I have been showing my class and talking about this in my class since I saw your post. Most of my students agree with the premise, but are unwilling to take action. I wish more PARENTS would read this and take action.

Ellen K said...

And this in itself is a plea to avoid the stupid concept of Bring Your Own Technology which has melted down to constant distraction via device. Our kids with IEP's come loaded with games, phones, IPads and more. Kids are streaming movies during class. Is it any wonder that teachers are beside themselves when it comes time for tests for while our jobs are on the line, the students seem to have no real repercussions for their off task behavior.