Technology causes academic distractions

Breanna Littrell

These days, technology is everywhere. Looking at screens has become a feature of our everyday lives. They engage us, connect us and distract us.

It is uncommon to find a college student without a smartphone. On any college campus, it is a normal sight to see students walking around staring at or speaking into their cellphones.

Research has been ongoing to determine how much of a distraction cellphones are for students. With social media and the bountiful information at our fingertips, what does this mean for our attention spans during classes?

According to the Journal of Media Education, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln conducted a survey in 2015 of 675 American college students in 26 states and their use of digital devices in the classroom.

The survey found that on average students spent 20.9 percent of class periods using a cell phone or other digital devices for purposes not related to class. This is a large amount of each lecture the student is missing.

The Journal of College Teaching conducted a survey that discovered of the 269 college students who responded, 95 percent reported they bring their phones to class, and 92 percent admitted to texting during class. A shocking response was 10 percent confessed to having texted during an exam at least once.

College students should stay focused on their teachers during classes. Lectures are where the professor gives the materials to succeed. When a student is using cellphones to text, email, surf the web, interact on social media and play games, they are not able to give their instructor their full attention, if they give them any attention at all.

If students wish to focus on their courses without distractions, cellphones and other digital devices should be out of sight for class. As most classes at UNA are typically 50 – 75 minutes, this is not an unreasonable amount of time to ignore the technology and focus on your future and your degree.

As a fellow student who is also tempted to check texts and notifications during classes, I challenge you as a New Year’s resolution to attend all classes this semester without checking your phone. The effect it will have on your learning will be exponential.