Technology in the classroom, both beneficial and a distraction

Many college students across the country have had the distracting experience of sitting behind or next to a student during class who would rather watch You Tube videos or check their Facebook news feeds rather than pay attention to the teacher.

“I think it’s very distracting for me to sit behind someone in class who is on YouTube or shopping online. I find myself paying more attention to what they are doing than the teacher,” said Sam Wilson, a junior business major.

“I sometimes wish my teacher would enforce a no cell phones in class policy,” Wilson added.

All teachers at NKU have some policy regarding cell phones and other electronic devices used during class. Some professors ban cell phones from being turned on all together.

While other professors ban the use of cell phones for noneducational uses like texting or to login to social media sites. Laptops can be both useful and a harmful distraction in class.

Many students have reported using laptops in class as an educational tool. Students can look up topics they want to know more information about during class. While other students like to use laptops for note taking.

The problem occurs when students use laptops for watching YouTube videos, exploring the Internet, or checking their Facebook news feeds. This becomes distracting for surrounding students listening to the teacher’s lectures.

Brittany Walker, a junior majoring in nursing, can see both sides to the use of technology in the class rooms.

“The use of laptops in class could be beneficial for the use of referencing to the Internet or taking notes but detrimental to the fact of it being distracting for the student as well as peers,” Walker said.

According to a report conducted by the Chronicle of Higher Education indicates that students taking laptops to classrooms might appear to be taking notes, but actually were doing activities unrelated to class work such as sending emails or using the internet.

The school of Journalism and Communication at Iowa State University includes clauses in the syllabi to warn students against inappropriate use of technology in the classroom.

For example, if a cell phone is heard by the class, you are then responsible for completing one of two options: by the end of class the student will sing a verse and chorus of their song of choice or lead the next class period through a 10-minute discussion on a topic to be determined by the end of class.

Advancing technology, as we know it, is here to stay. It is much more likely that students using technology in class will increase over time, with some major universities even adopting campus-wide mobile learning programs.


Student and technology fast facts:

79% of college students own a smart phone.

92% check their smart phone during lunch break.

93% use smart phones while commuting

77% check their smart phones before getting out of bed

*According to Bell State Institute for Mobile Media