Opinion: Technology effects student’s focus

By Clare James — The duty of being a student can be stressful and at times uninteresting. In the past, mentally escaping from a class included doing things such as, staring out a window, passing notes, or doodling on a piece of paper; today these simple actions seem ancient.

With technology rapidly developing, staring out the window has now become staring at a phone screen. Students in this generation are almost inseparable from mobile devices, distracting them from the importance of school and receiving a good education. It has been proven by a study done by students at George Mason University, students who spend time on their phones, texting, getting on twitter or facebook, ect., have shown to score lower on tests than students who pay full attention during lectures and note taking.

Although some students would like to believe they are experts at multi-tasking, it is apparent that using phones during class directly relates to the amount of content retained by the student. This is a problem that not only concerns the students’ education but also teachers environment in which they have to teach.

According to a study done by faculty focus, the use of phones in class creates a disconnection from teachers with their students. It is hard for teachers to maintain attention from a class when individuals are blatantly not paying attention due to the use of a phone. This is not only unfair to teachers, but to students who fall victim to a class having to constantly stop for teachers to tell students to get off their devices. The question teachers face: how to get students to focus back on learning.

Consequences could be the answer to some of these problems. If a student has received a warning for the use of a phone, the next offence could result in points taken off of their grade or an extra assignment given. These strategies could be an effective way to make kids want to stay off of their devices.

Students may feel that teachers are being irrational, but the purpose of school is to pay attention and receive an education. These goals cannot be achieved through a twitter feed or Facebook posts. However, integrating the use of cell phones for educational purposes could grasp the attention of students and further encourage their participation in class.

Students enjoy spending time on their cell phones and will most likely jump at any opportunity given to use them. Knowing this, teachers could integrate the use of devices in class for the benefit of students’ education. For example, at the beginning or end of class a small quiz could be given to the students where their answers can be submitted online, through the use of cellphones. This simple activity could prove that students may be more interested in participating solely because they get to use their phones.

Although it has been shown that the most dynamic way of learning is through face-to-face communication with teachers, there can be different approaches for different classes. Today’s generation of students treat cell phones and devices as if they are another limb attached to their body. The road to directing student’s attention back on learning may be a bumpy one, but it can be done through the cooperation of students with teachers as well as teachers with students.

[Updated Aug. 7, 2017: This article has been reformatted for consistency.]