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Technology in the Classroom

Learning in the classroom is a goal for a number of students studying at a college or university, but there are many distractions that can occur in a typical classroom during a lecture.

Nowadays laptops, lab computers, phones and iPads are often used by students on a day-to-day basis in the classroom.

I recently conducted an experiment in a Communication Research class in order to test my hypothesis: The use of technology by students causes retention and knowledge to decrease during instruction as well as a reduction in test score average.

My research showed that those who use technology in the classroom averaged a 40 percent on my test after a lecture. On the other side, those that focused, took notes, and stayed away from technology averaged a 74.6 percent.

How did I find this information, and what does it mean? It’s been shown in multiple studies and articles that technology is helpful in the classroom and it can be, but not when important information needs to be retained.

A normal lecture took place in a classroom of 17 students where the professor went over a study guide for a test the next class. I observed each student as the professor went over the material.

After the lecture and study guide questions were completed, each student took a five-question quiz to test their knowledge of what the professor had just gone over throughout the class period.

My observations showed that 11 students were attentive and focusing on the lecture at hand, and six students were either on their phones, laptops, or school computers throughout the duration of the lecture.

Therefore, the students who did not pay attention failed the test and those that did pay attention passed.

“In all honesty, it’s very hard to focus for an entire class period and I struggle not looking at my phone or wandering on the internet from time to time,” participant Kassidy Watkins said.

In recent studies conducted there are mixed thoughts and information discovered about whether technology is a positive or negative effect for the classroom.

In an article written by Arkansas Tech University Professor Kevin Costley, there was research conducted about the positive effects of technology on teaching and student learning. Costley also used data from a study conducted on 4,996 students through the The Program for International Student Assessment.

Researchers at Arkansas found that technology causes students to be more engaged and students often retain more information. The research, published through the International Students Assessment, found that students using technology at home and at school improved their math and science assessment scores.

Costley is speaking of when both teachers and students are using technology together in order to teach and then learn in the classroom and at home.

Technology could be helpful in this way, but when the teacher is lecturing in order to teach information for a test and students are on their phones or computers, that is where it can become a problem.

Another study by researchers of the Faith Project was conducted with 52 teachers in various areas to see how technology affects education in the classroom. This study, published in October 2017 issue of Cukurova University Faculty Of Education Journal, found that more often than not, tablets used by students become disruptive.

The study also found from their research that the use of tablet computers in the classroom by students lead to negative effects such as time management and behavior issues.

Through my study, directly observing the students through a lecture and testing them, students often are more distracted by technology in the classroom during a lecture. This especially occurs if the teacher is not engaging them in the technology and they are free to use their phones and laptops.


Related Links:

Ipads in the Classroom: Promise and Problem

Technology Waits at Waldorf School

Using Smartphones in the Classroom 

Productivity Kill at Work?