Thanks To Technology, College Students Are Paying No Attention In Class

shutterstock_148662251__1383418705_142.196.156.251It’s amazing anyone is graduating from college these days. College was distracting enough before digital addiction was born. I can only imagine how impossible it is to concentrate now. A new study found students use digital devices an obscene amount during their college school day.

Overall, 35 percent of the students interviewed said they used digital devices for non-classroom purposes one to three times per day, another 27 percent did so four to 10 times per day, 16 percent did so 11 to 30 times per day and 15 percent did so more than 30 times a day.

Only 8 percent said they never used devices for non-classroom purposes while in class, the study found.

Nearly 86 percent of students said they were texting, 68 percent said they were checking email, 66 percent said they were using social networks, 38 percent said they were surfing the Internet and 8 percent said they were playing a game during class. McCoy said he was surprised to find that 79 percent of the students used their digital devices to check the time.

Are there no clocks in classrooms anymore? Also, I find it strange that it’s considered the worst thing ever to use a digital device in a movie theatre, but the same rules don’t apply in classrooms. Aren’t we even pretending that college students should be listening to instructors anymore?

I guess it’s really not that distracting to be on a device now that pretty much everyone uses their laptops to take notes these days. How is an instructor to know whether the feverish tapping of keys is a student enthusiastically transcribing every word, or a student emailing his sister about his date last night?

I completed my college education in four years. I’m relatively confident that would never happen today. It was hard enough getting through the day with the lack of sleep and once weekly hangover – I can’t imagine adding the ability to interact with friends and browse Haute Look to that. No way would I have this degree under my belt if the iPhone was invented in 1991. No matter – I have no idea where I put it anyway.

If there are any college students reading this – is it just totally okay to use your device during class, or is all of this distraction going on on the down-low? I’m intrigued.

(photo: luckybusiness/ Shutterstock)

You can reach this post's author, Maria Guido, on twitter.
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    • Guest

      Speaking from the professor’s standpoint: if you’re not disturbing other people, I tend not to make a big deal out of it. But you’re probably going to pay for it later on the exam or with your participation points – I do take off for frequent texting in class and the like. (This is stated on my syllabus.) I think it is generally disrespectful unless, for instance, I’ve assigned a set of problems in logic to work on and you finish way ahead of everyone else – I don’t mind students doing something else in that case. Usually, however, I find that the students who spend all their time on their phones are not students who do well, so I get to take a certain glee in watching them get their just deserts.

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        There’s not even a Joyce on here! Jesus Christ, can’t you even spam effectively?! At least fool me a little.

    • Cee

      Well, I work full time and go to school full time. It means that I go to school right after work and usually get home more than twelve hours after I left home in the morning, so school, unfortunately, is my time to unwind a bit. Which is why I use technology in the class and can get distracted. Though I am distracted, I know whats going on. I turn in all my assignments and have never failed a class or gotten a lower grade due to technology being a distraction.
      Its hard though. The internet is fun but I think, at least for me, it is about not having any time to sit down in my own home during the week to do anything I want or have to do (errands, cook, dishes, hobbies, go on the internet) that I use my classroom time to win back something, I guess. Admittedly, I chose to go to school, but it just sucks that it is so time consuming. I am extremely jealous of people that can go without having to work.

    • Beth

      I’m also a professor, and I teach a large lecture of about 300 at an elite college. My students use their phones often–they use them as iclickers to respond to questions, they use them to take photos of slides if they are complex and they want to copy them later, they check the time, send quick texts, and when I dressed up for halloween last week, some even used them to take photos of me. They use their laptops to take notes–and sometimes they are of course doing things other than note taking. Like another poster said, you play it by ear. If it’s distracting, etc., then I put a stop to it (I reserve the right to do that in my syllabus). Considering I keep time during lecture on my phone as I’m lecturing, and when they take their exams, I cruise fb, etc., on my phone, I don’t really care. They are learning–and the ones who care learn a lot. I think that’s no different than in any other era: yes there are easier distractions now, but that same technology keeps my students connected to me in ways that was never possible before.

    • Emmali Lucia

      Hello all! Mommyish’s very own college student.

      No. Using a cell phone in class is freaking rude. I try not to, but I swear to God if I’m getting some strange (Okay not strange, more like if a guy that I like is texting me), then I’m on that phone 24/7. I hide it and all. And I use my cell phone as a calculator in math because the battery in my $200 is dead and I don’t need such an intense one in my remedial math anyways.

      But yeah, we don’t normally text in class in the most obvious way, we’ll try to hide it. Usually good professors teaching interesting subjects will never see texters, in my bio class I had to check my phone once or twice because it would not stop buzzing at me. Drove me up a freaking wall because I love that class and I love that teacher.

      • Cee

        You have more will power than I do.

      • Cee

        You have more will power than I do.

    • Véronique Houde

      My friend who is a college professor takes the students’ phones away from them if they are caught texting in class (after a first warning), which I think is awesome and hilarious! Some of these students are our age so she kind of feels bad, but considering the amount of time she puts into preparing her courses, teaching and correcting the work, and the fact that the classes are smaller in size, she gets totally offended when people aren’t paying full attention.

      As for using your computer, I have to admit that I was guilty of this sometimes. Wifi in class is actually a bad idea sometimes because the minute you’re slightly bored, the temptation to check out something else is high. However, considering I’m a speedy typist, using my computer allowed me to take bombass notes during class.

    • Véronique Houde

      My friend who is a college professor takes the students’ phones away from them if they are caught texting in class (after a first warning), which I think is awesome and hilarious! Some of these students are our age so she kind of feels bad, but considering the amount of time she puts into preparing her courses, teaching and correcting the work, and the fact that the classes are smaller in size, she gets totally offended when people aren’t paying full attention.

      As for using your computer, I have to admit that I was guilty of this sometimes. Wifi in class is actually a bad idea sometimes because the minute you’re slightly bored, the temptation to check out something else is high. However, considering I’m a speedy typist, using my computer allowed me to take bombass notes during class.

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    • pixie

      Hey now, there’s still a lot of us who graduate in four years! Don’t dump all college/university students into one category. :P
      Completing my program in four years wasn’t very common pre-internet/cell phone either, so I’m pretty proud of myself (the school I did my BMus at required its music students to take more credits per year than it required for even engineering students, so whereas a non-music student needs only 20 credits to graduate, music students needs 24 credits on top of practicing their main instrument, secondary instrument, choir music, attending 10 concerts per year, along with the usual studying).
      I wrote all my notes the “old fashioned” way with pen and paper, but that’s because I absorb things better that way. I mainly used my computer to look up things the professor was talking about, and I needed to bring my computer to my composition class when we were learning how to use certain programs. I don’t deny going on Facebook or checking my emails; it happened from time to time. Same with texting (if my mom or boyfriend texted me and needed an immediate response). I’ll admit I’m much worse for using social media now in my Masters degree where the class styles are different and there are fewer things to write down, but i still hand in all my assignments on time, and participate more than most of the other people in one of my class – including those who don’t bring computers but sit and stare at their notebooks. It helps that I am able to still listen and focus on what is going on in class and look at my computer screen (for whatever reason) at the same time.

      • Emmali Lucia

        I’m with you on the pen and paper. If I type it it’s gone within thirty minutes, if I write it down it’ll be in my had forever and then in case I forget a part of it I can always flip to it in my binder.

      • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

        Oh music. That was a rough major. I switched. Kudos to you. :)

      • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

        Oh music. That was a rough major. I switched. Kudos to you. :)

      • pixie

        Thanks! There were definitely times where I asked myself “why am I doing this to myself?” :P

      • Jallun-Keatres

        Wow you did music in four years?? Nice! It took me 5.

      • pixie

        There’s nothing wrong with that! Had I lived closer to home/at home I probably would have taken more time to do my undergrad instead of getting it done in four years. There are times when I still wonder how the hell I survived lol!

      • Jallun-Keatres

        It’s nearly impossible to do it in 4 at my school. Part of the reason is a bunch of *super necessary* classes like Herpaderp Counterpoint are only offered every other year so if you fail/miss out you’re screwed. IIRC it was during marching band as well. The only people who actually do it in 4 are ed majors who take like 293745 credits a semester.

      • Jallun-Keatres

        It’s nearly impossible to do it in 4 at my school. Part of the reason is a bunch of *super necessary* classes like Herpaderp Counterpoint are only offered every other year so if you fail/miss out you’re screwed. IIRC it was during marching band as well. The only people who actually do it in 4 are ed majors who take like 293745 credits a semester.

      • pixie

        It was the same at my undergrad university, and they decided to switch some requirements between my first and second years, which didn’t help (messed around with the history courses by combining a couple of them, and taking out the intro course that does an overview from baroque-20th century). I ended up overloading on credits in my third and fourth years so I could make up for it and get out of there. It also didn’t help that a lot of the non-music elective credits we could choose from had time conflicts with music credits and the people working in registrar office didn’t really know anything that went on in the music department. Hurray for university/college music programs! *sigh*

      • Jallun-Keatres

        Part of the reason it took me so long was I started as composition and once our messed up program actually got me to comp lessons as a junior I realized the prof had NO IDEA WTF he was doing (learned he was only the comp guy because he failed at being music ed but was good at theory) so I quit halfway through and became general. Then I got hit with depression so I was part time for a year but managed to finish nicely the next year. So many rants I could make about lack of morale/bad classes/baaaaad professors lol

      • pixie

        Ah, see our profs knew what was going on and they were good, it was just the registrar guys who had no clue about music and unfortunately, that’s where a lot of people went to help with course selection lol

      • http://twitter.com/mariaguido Maria Guido

        I meant for ME! Not everyone else! I personally prob wouldn’t be able to graduate in 4 years today. I just realized I didn’t make that clear at all – sorry!

      • pixie

        I think I came to that realization at 3am, that you meant yourself, not others!

      • Daisy

        Nothing wrong with taking 5 or 6 years anyway. At my university, it’s rare for people to finish in 4 years, between the Education program, co-op terms, applied studies, etc., almost everyone does SOMETHING that stretches it out. I even know people who took 5 years on purpose so they could spend an extra year with a club or on a sports team. It has nothing to do with how good a student you are. I did a double major, switched universities, and did a co-op term, but at the end of 6 years, I am now the proud owner of a BASc with distinction in Bio and PoliSci (which, you may have guessed, have zero overlapping requirements).

      • Daisy

        Nothing wrong with taking 5 or 6 years anyway. At my university, it’s rare for people to finish in 4 years, between the Education program, co-op terms, applied studies, etc., almost everyone does SOMETHING that stretches it out. I even know people who took 5 years on purpose so they could spend an extra year with a club or on a sports team. It has nothing to do with how good a student you are. I did a double major, switched universities, and did a co-op term, but at the end of 6 years, I am now the proud owner of a BASc with distinction in Bio and PoliSci (which, you may have guessed, have zero overlapping requirements).

      • pixie

        Oh yeah, for sure. I have plenty of friends who chose to take longer doing their undergrad for a variety of reasons. If my family lived closer I might have done the same rather than cram everything in in four years. But my hometown is 16 hours away from where I did my undergrad (though still in the same province), so I was getting a little tired of flying back and forth for holidays.

      • pixie

        Oh yeah, for sure. I have plenty of friends who chose to take longer doing their undergrad for a variety of reasons. If my family lived closer I might have done the same rather than cram everything in in four years. But my hometown is 16 hours away from where I did my undergrad (though still in the same province), so I was getting a little tired of flying back and forth for holidays.

      • Cee

        Everyone that finishes their degree should be proud of themselves, whether they took four years or more.

      • pixie

        Of course everyone should! I wasn’t trying to say otherwise. Sorry if it came off that way. :)
        University/college is hard and a huge accomplishment for anyone. I just wanted to get my undergrad over with in four years. Not because I didn’t like the people or the program, I just wasn’t the biggest fan of the city and always having to fly home for holidays sucked!

    • Tea

      I used my tablet and phone all the time in class, but rarely to never for goofing off. Sometimes I’d need to look up a word, or leave myself a note about an event, test date change, or any other syllabus amendments. A few times I had to use my tablet because the handout or literature we were given was too small for me to read, so I’d pull it up online and use granny font, a few times I even had a DAISY file going and an earbud in so I could listen to what we were reading. I helped our school write their ebook policy, because a lot of the assigned reading didn’t come in size 16+ font.

      If I was fidgety, I was usually drawing, working on something with my hands helped me stay focused, since I couldn’t read 95% of the slides we did anyway.

      Some of my profs were very anti-tech, and some didn’t care. My art history guy figured that if your grades slipped because you were screwing around, you were wasting your money. My psych prof was so technophobic that she made you sit up front with your back to her if you used a laptop so she could watch, and I had to explain and show her what my VI aids did, a lot of which are things phones can do now. A friend of mine who’s now an adjunct wishes he could just let nature take its course on chronic texters and slackers, but he said he takes a hit if his students are failing.

    • thisshortenough

      All my lectures happen in the same lecture hall and theres constantly texting happening or people just on their phones, myself included. Luckily are lecture hall has really bad signal so while you can get texts in and out wifi and 3g are spotty at best. I’ve ended up having to repeat first year this year and this time around I know which lectures I should seriously pay attention in and which ones it’s okay to mess around a bit with as long as I keep at least half my mind on the lecture. Plus there’s group discussion which is more intimate and far more important so everybody pays attention for that.

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    • Jallun-Keatres

      I used my laptop during my 200+ student lectures where (and only when) I already knew the material covered but never once used a phone/computer during the small and intimate classes that were part of my major. There’s no texting in Music Theory. lol

    • Jallun-Keatres

      I used my laptop during my 200+ student lectures where (and only when) I already knew the material covered but never once used a phone/computer during the small and intimate classes that were part of my major. There’s no texting in Music Theory. lol

    • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

      Sometimes it bothers me when my college students are on their phones. I’ll ask, “Am I boring you?” on occasion. But it’s rare that I have that problem. It does happen a lot that they use it for useful things. Like I once had a class disagree with me about a pronunciation of a word.They were determined to prove me wrong so I challenged them to google it. They did and confirmed that I was right, which was awesome (p.s….I was 99% sure I was right but 1% terrified). A lot of times they actually google for more info/spellings/an article I’m referencing. Occasionally technology gets misused in my class, but (I can’t believe I’m saying this) a lot of the times it’s useful and they end up sharing something they just searched that I talked about.

    • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

      Sometimes it bothers me when my college students are on their phones. I’ll ask, “Am I boring you?” on occasion. But it’s rare that I have that problem. It does happen a lot that they use it for useful things. Like I once had a class disagree with me about a pronunciation of a word.They were determined to prove me wrong so I challenged them to google it. They did and confirmed that I was right, which was awesome (p.s….I was 99% sure I was right but 1% terrified). A lot of times they actually google for more info/spellings/an article I’m referencing. Occasionally technology gets misused in my class, but (I can’t believe I’m saying this) a lot of the times it’s useful and they end up sharing something they just searched that I talked about.

    • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

      Sometimes it bothers me when my college students are on their phones. I’ll ask, “Am I boring you?” on occasion. But it’s rare that I have that problem. It does happen a lot that they use it for useful things. Like I once had a class disagree with me about a pronunciation of a word.They were determined to prove me wrong so I challenged them to google it. They did and confirmed that I was right, which was awesome (p.s….I was 99% sure I was right but 1% terrified). A lot of times they actually google for more info/spellings/an article I’m referencing. Occasionally technology gets misused in my class, but (I can’t believe I’m saying this) a lot of the times it’s useful and they end up sharing something they just searched that I talked about.

      • Magrat

        I’ve seen this, too. Google and Wikipedia are actually pretty good sources for on-the-fly tangential information.

    • K.

      I’m a professor as well, and mostly teach small classes–20 students max. I don’t really care (nor could I do much if I did) what students do when I teach large classes in lecture-style formats, but when I teach writing seminars, I do. This is because the nature of a writing seminar is discussion about each-other’s writing, which is quite personal. I tell my students that they may not have their phones on or silenced in class and if I catch them texting, I’ll happily dismiss them. Not only is it incredibly rude and dismissive to do that when discussing other students’ work, but it’s also just…inappropriate. If you go to class, be in class.

      I tell my students:

      They are not in high-school anymore. They can decide for themselves where their priorities are. If they are texting in class, then they’ve clearly decided that their priorities are elsewhere in their lives rather than being in class. If that’s the case, than they can BE elsewhere than in my class. In other words, I’m not so much ‘punishing’ them for texting; I’m making them own their choices.

      • whiteroses

        This. As a professor- you can’t care more than your students do. And some of them just don’t care.

      • Daisy

        I agree–it definitely makes a difference what kind of class it is. I would never have dared to even check my watch in my 15-person 4000-level International Relations Theory seminar. 300-person Psych 1000? I did nothing but play computer games and still got an A+.

      • Daisy

        I agree–it definitely makes a difference what kind of class it is. I would never have dared to even check my watch in my 15-person 4000-level International Relations Theory seminar. 300-person Psych 1000? I did nothing but play computer games and still got an A+.

    • K.

      Oh, and one more thing–I guess more for students who text a lot:

      WHY?

      I may be of a different technological vintage (but I’m not THAT old!), but I just don’t get why anyone would want to be endlessly accessible all the time. I suppose that you could accuse college classes of being ‘boring’ as a reason for the constant texting/FBing and whatever, but I don’t think that’s it–it seems more like an obsessive kind of behavior, like biting one’s nails or something.

      A student of mine wanted to write a research paper on cell-phone addiction because she suspected SHE might be addicted. I suggested that perhaps she attempt to give up her cell phone for a day or two and include a personal angle in her paper, and I swear, she turned white and stammered, “Oh God. Oh God, no–I couldn’t do THAT!” I don’t understand. What’s going to happen if you can’t be reached for 50 minutes during class? What is so important that you can’t be present for a college course? You can’t sit and have lunch with a friend and NOT be checking your email? It’s all kind of weird to me.

      • KarenMS

        It’s totally an obsessive behavior for me…liking it to nail biting is very apt, also. I wear scrubs to work and the large pockets afford me a perfect place to keep my phone. I find myself reaching for it every few *minutes*, no lie. Just to light up the screen usually, maybe open facebook or seriously just read the last text I sent. Complete nonsense. I would be screwed if I were still in college.

      • yup

        When I am not at work, I am always playing with my phone, texting people, responding to emails. But from when the bell goes at 9 am until the bell rings at 3pm, I am completely inaccessible except by calling the office. My phone is silenced and stowed in my purse until there is an appropriate time to use it.
        I have taken it out so that I can snap a picture of the board when I don’t want write down the notes for the kids that are missing.
        Yes, I am a teacher. My students have no idea how I can do it, especially when I respond to their emails on the weekend very promptly.

      • yup

        When I am not at work, I am always playing with my phone, texting people, responding to emails. But from when the bell goes at 9 am until the bell rings at 3pm, I am completely inaccessible except by calling the office. My phone is silenced and stowed in my purse until there is an appropriate time to use it.
        I have taken it out so that I can snap a picture of the board when I don’t want write down the notes for the kids that are missing.
        Yes, I am a teacher. My students have no idea how I can do it, especially when I respond to their emails on the weekend very promptly.

      • pixie

        It depends on the day for me. Some days I reach for my phone every five minutes and others I go nearly the whole day without looking at it. That being said, I always have it on me. If I get a text in class, I’ll quickly check who it is/what they want before determining if it’s necessary to answer or not. Normally I don’t, or if it’s semi-urgent, I will respond with a quick message that I’m in class and will get back to them after.
        Thankfully I’ve never had an urgent, emergency text, but I’m always afraid of it. My dad has pretty bad arthritis that’s getting gradually worse and works in a labour-intensive warehouse job, so I’m always afraid of finding out he’s gotten hurt. That and his idiopathic anaphylactic allergy.

    • Paul White

      I’m 29 so I’m hardly an antique (right? right? please god tell me I’m right) but I don’t get voluntarily assuming an electronic leash. Let alone celebrating it and not being able/willing to live without for a couple hours!

      • brebay

        I agree. My phone works for me, I don’t work for it. I can’t believe how pissed people get when you don’t respond to a text right away. You say “I wasn’t near my phone,” or “I was eating dinner with my family,” and their eyes just kind of glaze over. My phone is a convenience I pay for. If I want to be reached, I’ll have it handy, if I don’t, I shut it off.

    • Justme

      I’ve heard that some professors are banning the use of technology in their classrooms.

      I teach middle school in a district that has launched the use of Apple products, which basically means all our students come to school with an iPad and some sort of smart phone. In my math and algebra classes, it’s pretty cool to sit at the back of the class while explaining and demonstrating a concept and seeing all my students fill in the same notes on their screens. BUT I also know that the freedom of technology has landed several of my students in ISS just in the past week.

      Basically, when used correctly, technology and education is a beautiful marriage but there must be clear expectations with consistent monitoring and enforcement of rules.

    • Justme

      I’ve heard that some professors are banning the use of technology in their classrooms.

      I teach middle school in a district that has launched the use of Apple products, which basically means all our students come to school with an iPad and some sort of smart phone. In my math and algebra classes, it’s pretty cool to sit at the back of the class while explaining and demonstrating a concept and seeing all my students fill in the same notes on their screens. BUT I also know that the freedom of technology has landed several of my students in ISS just in the past week.

      Basically, when used correctly, technology and education is a beautiful marriage but there must be clear expectations with consistent monitoring and enforcement of rules.

    • Marmadukes

      @disqus_sw9yotHMQo:disqus You are correct.

      As a college student myself I have to agree with this article. Luckily for me, I was blessed with a touch of common sense and I know that if I bring my phone with me, nothing will get done. I just leave it in my locker now and check it between classes.

      • Justme

        I definitely think that since my school district now has iPads for all the students, there is absolutely no reason that any child needs his or her cell phone in class. The drama on the phones is what is getting them into trouble.

        And then there is the research that shows how well people remember things when writing material down as opposed to typing or just listening. That’s why I like the programs that still require my students to write or solve problems all on their own.

        The best part of the technology though, is the fact that it takes away a lot of the extra work that goes into teaching SPED students. If they need a copy of the notes, I just email it to them. If a student is absent or home bound, I just email them the copy of my material. Needs. Calculator? Download an app for that. Technology has certainly streamlined my classroom for sure.

      • Justme

        I definitely think that since my school district now has iPads for all the students, there is absolutely no reason that any child needs his or her cell phone in class. The drama on the phones is what is getting them into trouble.

        And then there is the research that shows how well people remember things when writing material down as opposed to typing or just listening. That’s why I like the programs that still require my students to write or solve problems all on their own.

        The best part of the technology though, is the fact that it takes away a lot of the extra work that goes into teaching SPED students. If they need a copy of the notes, I just email it to them. If a student is absent or home bound, I just email them the copy of my material. Needs. Calculator? Download an app for that. Technology has certainly streamlined my classroom for sure.

      • Daisy

        It doesn’t matter how well writing makes things stick in your brain if you only get half the material down. I am a painfully slow writer, but I can type 80 or 90 wpm. As long as I get it all typed up, I can always go back and study it later. In fact, I’ll usually make handwritten flashcards from my typed notes. Best of both worlds :)

    • Daisy

      Most professors’ “teaching” (and I use that term loosely) consists entirely of monotonous, uninterrupted lecturing for 50 or 75 minutes straight. Nobody can stay focused that long. (I’ve found that my personal attention span is about exactly 25 minutes. The first time I check the clock in any class is almost always right on the 25 minute mark. It’s kind of spooky.)
      In classes where I didn’t use my laptop, I doodled, so I definitely didn’t need technology to get distracted. But honestly, I’d rather take five minutes to play a couple games of Solitaire, and then tune back in with a fresh mind, than spend the last half of class staring blankly at the professor and taking in no information.
      Yeah, if someone is doing nothing but texting and checking Facebook, that is rude to the professor, rude to other students, and a waste of their own time. But there’s no harm in a couple of texts or an occasional round of Minesweeper. Personally, I’ve found that professors who are actually any good at teaching will keep the class varied and interactive enough that students won’t even think about checking their email.

      • Jallun-Keatres

        This! I’m always doing something with my hands, usually twirling my hair, and when it was just a lecture and little audience participation then out came the doodles or the internet surfing. When the professors were interesting or made participation come first then I could just take notes and doodle a little, being way more engaged.

      • pixie

        I’m a HUGE doodler. My notebooks have always been half notes half doodles. At least now, teachers don’t check notebooks like they did in elementary school and high school and get mad at me for it! :P

      • pixie

        I’m a HUGE doodler. My notebooks have always been half notes half doodles. At least now, teachers don’t check notebooks like they did in elementary school and high school and get mad at me for it! :P

    • Melissanichole

      I’m in my last year of pre-med. I’ve always been under the belief that, as long as you aren’t a distraction, you should be able to do as you please. Whenever I’m tempted to check facebook during class, I remind myself that each of these credits costs at least a grand. I’m paying for school out of pocket. I need to have my mind on the lecture. That said I do rely heavily on technology. I record lectures while I take some sparce notes. That way I spend more time listening than writing.

    • freaklittlegeek

      It is a distraction ..

    • freaklittlegeek

      It is a distraction ..

    • Drea

      Most of my professors have a no technology rule. They put the notes online so we can print them off. My professors have zero qualms with calling out someone who is using their phone in class. Then again, I go to a smaller branch of a bigger university, so the classes are 30 at most (except for a few that require an actual lecture hall) and it becomes really obvious when someone is using the phone.

    • Harriet Meadow

      To answer one of your questions, Maria, I teach at a major university and there has only been a clock in one of the many classrooms that I have taught in. Not that I think this is an excuse for getting distracted (there are these wonderful things called watches), but still…

      • Ashley

        I too had classes without clocks on the walls. Clocks don’t seem that common these days. On the days when I forget my phone, I’m always worried I’ll be late back to work from my lunch break because I can never find clocks anywhere. (And I stopped wearing a watch a few years ago).

    • Magrat

      I’m in PhD coursework, and I do most of my work on a Chromebook. It saves paper, and it’s super portable. I’m also incredibly fidgety by nature, and if I don’t have anything to do with my hands I’ll pick at my cuticles until they bleed. I used to crochet in class, but now that I have a laptop with me I do online jigsaw puzzles. It’s less obvious.

      I haven’t started teaching extensively yet, so I don’t have a solid opinion on undergrads using technology in class. Considering my own experience, though, I think especially once people get to college they need to be responsible for their own education. I don’t think I would ban computers in class (I know people who do), but I would probably ban texting and anything truly distracting. Other than that I would probably take it on a case-by-case basis–as long as someone is doing well and participating in class, I don’t think I would care what’s on their screen, but if someone is having trouble I might ask them to switch to paper notes.

    • http://wtfihaveakid.blogspot.ca/ jendra_berri

      My college program implemented Mac laptops for the first time when I started. This was in 2002. Everyone was on MSN messenger. I played Yahoo games. It’s really hard to buckle down when you have a shiny new toy in front of you. Being fresh outta high school doesn’t equal maturity.
      The only time we really even needed it was for certain software classes. So many times it should have been banned from the room. When people are engaged in technology instead of class room participation (which is where discussion is generated and more in-depth learning takes place), frankly, everyone loses.

    • http://wtfihaveakid.blogspot.ca/ jendra_berri

      My college program implemented Mac laptops for the first time when I started. This was in 2002. Everyone was on MSN messenger. I played Yahoo games. It’s really hard to buckle down when you have a shiny new toy in front of you. Being fresh outta high school doesn’t equal maturity.
      The only time we really even needed it was for certain software classes. So many times it should have been banned from the room. When people are engaged in technology instead of class room participation (which is where discussion is generated and more in-depth learning takes place), frankly, everyone loses.

    • mcglone

      These college kids didn’t just all of a sudden start this behavior. It’s absolutely rampant in high school. Doesn’t matter what “rules” are in place, it’s too big a problem to control, and parents say they support rules, but the parents are often the ones texting them. If the country really wanted to save education they would focus on this issue, it’s probably the number one reason kids don’t succeed in classes.

    • Chrissy

      I’m going to be real, I just finished grad school last May. I was probably on my phone for non-class related activities every class. I also had a 3.8 GPA and just got a ridiculously high score on my licensing exam. I also had really shitty instructors through most of my courses and got way more from reading the book than listening to them.

    • BubbleyToes

      I graduated undergrad in 3 years and grad school in another two. I did not have a smart phone until I got one for myself as a grad school graduation gift. (This past May-2013, so clearly an uncommon thing, and I am only 23). They are SUCH a distraction! I love it and all, but MAN I can see now why people were so obsessively checking their phones throughout entire class periods. I saw that and did NOT want to be that way. I still really enjoy leaving my phone at home for the day. I am not a parent, so there is really no emergency that couldn’t wait or that someone couldn’t call my work to reach me for. I do think it would have been much harder to graduate with my bachelor’s in 3 years had I had a smart phone and been distracted all day by it. I remember people in my class would get frustrated bc I hadn’t responded to an email. It’s easy to forget that not everyone has internet access 24/7 in their pocket. I had to wait to check emails until I got home for the day. Anyway, my point is they are very distracting and had I been on my phone all day, college would have been harder and I wouldn’t have learned as much.

    • BubbleyToes

      I graduated undergrad in 3 years and grad school in another two. I did not have a smart phone until I got one for myself as a grad school graduation gift. (This past May-2013, so clearly an uncommon thing, and I am only 23). They are SUCH a distraction! I love it and all, but MAN I can see now why people were so obsessively checking their phones throughout entire class periods. I saw that and did NOT want to be that way. I still really enjoy leaving my phone at home for the day. I am not a parent, so there is really no emergency that couldn’t wait or that someone couldn’t call my work to reach me for. I do think it would have been much harder to graduate with my bachelor’s in 3 years had I had a smart phone and been distracted all day by it. I remember people in my class would get frustrated bc I hadn’t responded to an email. It’s easy to forget that not everyone has internet access 24/7 in their pocket. I had to wait to check emails until I got home for the day. Anyway, my point is they are very distracting and had I been on my phone all day, college would have been harder and I wouldn’t have learned as much.

    • DaisyJupes

      I am very proud to say that I can completely distract myself and learn nothing while using anything to distract me (taking notes =/= to paying attention). That being said, it’s annoying when people are texting/facebooking/shoe buying around me and it’s distracting. I’m in class because I’m trying to learn (or in a very few cases stay awake and earn participation points… “let me tell you about the 8 years I lived in the Soviet Union” is not a class I’m taking, but it’s a class that I’m in apparently). The only time I really texted at all during class was when I got overly eager to speak with my long distance (now ex) boyfriend. And that was maybe one or two texts a class if there was a weird break.

    • WriterLady

      I’m currently writing a digital program for introductory college composition courses. The point of the program is not to regurgitate information from the professor, vis a vis a tiresome PowerPoint presentation. Instead, the program reinforces specific skills and concepts that are designed with a built-in, high-tech, personalized approach.

      In other words, each student receives basic instruction during a portion of the class. Then, the students sign into the program on their own laptops and work on the assigned tasks. What does this accomplish, and what are the benefits? Essentially, it helps eliminate the antiquated one-size-fits all teaching model by providing individual entry points for students at different mastery levels. A struggling student, for example, will start with more basic instruction (that goes above and beyond the teachers’ guidance) and simple questions to test their understanding of the material. If the students require additional assistance, they receive detailed remediation, followed by more opportunities for practice. Gradually, they master the basic content and move up to more challenging material within the same skill set (or, at least that’s the goal). On the other hand, advanced students jump straight to the more challenging material, thereby eliminating repetitiveness and preventing them from becoming bored and disengaged.

      This is all done anonymously, by the way, so students are not singled out by their peers for falling into a particular category. The instructor immediately receives a copy of all of the students’ work, as well as the outcome (or success rate) of their attempted activities and assessment questions.

      • WriterLady

        I should also note that this is increasingly becoming the norm at the middle and high school levels, as well.

    • http://www.solidessay.com/ SolidEssay.com

      Technology is not a bad thing at all if used appropriately. If a students uses it in class for non-education purposes it’s then the professor’s problem. He/she should make sure the student pays attention to the class material.