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Survey: Nearly Half of Students Distracted by Technology

Inside Higher Education: “A recent survey found the use of technology in class, such as laptops or phones, for noneducational purposes was distracting to almost half of students, while others surveyed believe technology in the classroom is unavoidable. The study was published in the Canadian Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning and surveyed 478 students and 36 instructors at the University of Waterloo. Of the undergraduate students surveyed, 49 percent said the use of technology for reasons not related to class, or “off-task” use, was distracting to them. However, students generally said they’ve used technology for off-task purposes regardless.

“Students actually know and realize that the use of technology has a negative impact on people around them when used for off-task purposes like browsing the web,” Elena Neiterman, a Waterloo teaching fellow and one of the authors of the study, said. “They still feel like [technology] is still necessary when the classes are not engaging enough. Like, for example, being in a large lecture hall or when the professor is what they call ‘boring.’”

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