Is Having a Phone in Class as Distracting as We Have Been Told?
This generation heavily depends on technology for many things. Technology can be used for forms of communication and a way to take notes in class. The article “An Empirical Examination of the educational impact of text message-induced task switching in the classroom: educational implications and strategies to enhance learning” discusses how cellphones affect us. One of the questions addressed in this article was how technology affects us in a classroom setting. It is commonly known that if we are on our phones in class we won’t be able to recall what we learned in class very well. There were multiple studies including students texting or instant messaging during class. The students were asked to watch a video and were later given a quiz. Some students were sent zero to seven texts, eight to 15 texts, and 16+ texts.
The results showed that there is something more than just technology affecting our memory. There is something called metacognition. This is when we regulate our own knowledge and processing and we are aware of it. To make this into simpler terms, it is self-control and the decisions we make. In this study some students responded right away and that meant they had low metacognitive control. On the other hand, there were students who decided to wait to respond and that meant that they had a high metacognitive control. Being able to control what you are focusing on increases what you can recall.
Now, to get to the main question, how distracting is technology and how does it affect our performance in class? The students in this study were exposed to technology in different doses, either a lot of texts, a little, or none. The students that were exposed to the most technology did significantly worse than the group exposed to none. Based on the findings, the authors made the conclusion that even though texting in class is disruptive, it is not as detrimental as many teachers claim it is. The study showed how important it is to have high metacognitive control. When we are doing things in daily life there are many interruptions and times we need to be able to do multiple things at once. Technology can affect our performance negatively, but for some people it is positive because it is something they deal with all the time.
Even if technology is away from people it could still be affecting them because they could be thinking about it. Having control over what you do and think about is what matters the most when using technology. Knowing when is and is not the right time is crucial for using technology during a certain task. In conclusion, I agree that technology is distracting, but I think it is over-exaggerated at times. Technology is helpful in many ways, and I think we should use it to help us further in life. I feel that technology was created for a reason and if we use it to our advantage it could help us rather than hurt us.
It all depends on the person using the technology and what they are using it for. If people aren’t able to control what they are focusing on then technology can negatively affect them. In that case it is important to have a certain task in mind and stick to what you are doing. The difficult thing with this is that distractions are everywhere. The key to using technology in a positive way is sticking to what you are doing and to stay focused. If you end up in a spiral of the internet (which happens often) try to remember what you were doing in the first place.
Rosen, L. D., Lim, A. F., Carrier, M., & Cheever, N. A. (2011). An Empirical Examination of the educational impact of text message-induced task switching in the classroom: educational implications and strategies to enhance learning. Colegio Oficial de Psicólogos de Madrid. 1135-755X. http://dx.doi.org/10.5093