Concentrating in class gets two thumbs up. Which has the benefit of keeping those thumbs off the smart phone. A new study finds that texting in class distracts students. And that effective learners, who earn higher grades, text less during class. The research is in the journal Communication Education. [Fang-Yi Flora Wei, Y. Ken Wang & Michael Klausner, "Rethinking College Students' Self-Regulation and Sustained Attention: Does Text Messaging During Class Influence Cognitive Learning?"]
Whether in or out of class, almost all American college students send texts rather than emails or instant messages.
University of Pittsburgh undergrads filled out surveys on their in-class texting and learning habits. The researchers discovered that students on average viewed and sent two to three text messages per class period. Those students who considered themselves very able to direct their own learning process and stay focused in class also texted less frequently. But the students who checked their phones more often rated themselves as more easily distracted, and did less well academically.
While the study showed a correlation between better grades and less text messaging, it did not prove that frequent texting causes bad grades. But it did provide an opportunity for those teachers who confiscate phones from texting students to say—or text—“Told you so.”
[The above text is a transcript of this podcast.]