Published on November 4, 2013 | by Talal Alhumaid

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Students prefer to Snapchat during lectures

Students are using their smartphones during lectures and distract themselves from learning [Joshua Hayes]

Undergraduate students will use their smartphones 11 times per lecture for non-academic purposes, according to a study conducted by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Around 80 per cent of students admitted that their distractions interfered with their learning, while more than half of students said they used their devices regularly to fight boredom and to stay connected.

The most common distraction is texting at 86 per cent, while two-thirds use social networks and eight per cent play games.

Dougal Wallace, MA documentary and photojournalism student at LCC, believes that people are too quick to blame technology for student distractions: “I’m sure that kind of thing does affect people’s grades, but if you want to be distracted in class, it’s easy enough to be distracted by anything.

“If people aren’t texting, then they’re gonna be poking the people sitting next to them and trying to pass notes to the cute boy or girl at the front of class,” Wallace added.

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He also believes that if the students are not engaged with the material, then that is the fault of the teacher.

“They [the lecturers] need to find ways of engaging students with the material,” he continued. “If they are engaged with the material and they’re doing stuff on their devices, they might be potentially be doing productive stuff, because that’s what people are using them for these days.”

Bonnie Ellis PhD, a public speaking coach and director of academic affairs for the University of Phoenix, thinks that students are overly attached to their phones. “I get a kick out of my students who say they can multitask, because they’re really not,” Ellis told Phoenix Forward.

“They’re just shifting their attention between two very different activities … It’s kind of like when people first started using their phones while driving; people didn’t realise how dangerous it was.”

The researcher who led the study, Barney McCoy, believes that this trend of distractions by technology is not going to go away; his response was to allow his students short smartphone breaks during lectures.

 

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