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Study probes teaching challenges brought by smartphones in class

Oct. 23, 2013 at 7:27 PM   |   Comments

LINCOLN, Neb., Oct. 23 (UPI) -- The average American college student will check his or her digital device 11 times a day -- and that's while they're in class, a study found.

In a University of Nebraska-Lincoln study, 80 percent of students polled said their use of smart phones, tablets and laptops interfered with their learning, and more than a fourth said their grades suffered as a result.

Broadcasting Professor Barney McCoy said he embarked on his study after noticing the instructional challenges presented by digital devices students brought to class

"They've got their laptops open, but they're not always taking notes," McCoy said. "Some might have two screens open -- Facebook and their notes."

The top advantages of using digital devices for non-class purposes, students in the study said, were staying connected (70 percent), fighting boredom (55 percent) and doing related class work (49 percent).

The most common disadvantages cited by students were that they didn't pay attention (90 percent), missed instruction (80 percent), or were called out by their instructor (32 percent).

More than a fourth said they lost grade points because of their digital habits.

However, more than 91 percent said they opposed a classroom ban on digital devices.

"I don't think students necessarily think it's problematic," McCoy said. "They think it's part of their lives."

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