Texting during class disrupts comprehension

3 Jan

Spring semester starts soon and I have been busy preparing the syllabi for my classes. One issue that has become an increasing problem is students texting during class and I have been thinking about what to say in the syllabus.

By some weird synchronicity my copy of the journal Teaching Psychology arrived today. It included an article titled: “OMG! Texting in Class = U Fail 😦 Empirical Evidence That Text Messaging During Class Disrupts Comprehension.” Here is the abstract:

“In two experiments, we examined the effects of text messaging during lecture on comprehension of lecture material. Students (in Experiment 1) and randomly assigned participants (in Experiment 2) in a text message condition texted a prescribed conversation while listening to a brief lecture. Students and participants in the no-text condition refrained from texting during the same lecture. Postlecture quiz scores confirmed the hypothesis that texting during lecture would disrupt comprehension and retention of lecture material. In both experiments, the no-text group significantly outscored the text group on the quiz and felt more confident about their performance. The classroom demonstration described in Experiment 1 provides preliminary empirical evidence that texting during class disrupts comprehension in an actual classroom environment. Experiment 2 addressed the selection bias and demand characteristic issues present in Experiment 1 and replicated the main findings. Together, these two experiments clearly illustrate the detrimental effects of texting during class, which could discourage such behavior in students.”

Here is the rule I am thinking of adding to my syllabus:

The use of laptops, phones, texting devices, and other electronic equipment is not allowed in class without the permission of the instructor. All cell phone and similar devices must be silenced and put away. You may not have a phone on your desk or visible during class

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