Technology, multitasking distracts from classroom learning

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There were many things that came as a shock to me once I entered college.

One of the biggest surprises? While I was sitting in my first ever college class, I looked around and saw almost everyone on their phones or laptops not paying attention to what the professor was saying.

I went to an inner-city high school that faced a lot of different problems and tried to enforce tons of different rules to ensure the safety of the students and faculty. One of these rules was a no technology policy. If students put up a fight with this, a security guard was called and the student’s phone, tablet or laptop would be confiscated. Then the student would be taken out of class and written up.

So, when I got to college and realized this wasn’t something that happened, I didn’t know how to feel about it.

In my opinion, having a laptop or tablet out to take notes on during class is fine, if that is all that the student is doing on it.

The problem I have arises when students are scrolling through Facebook, online shopping or even watching Netflix during class. I’ve seen this happen more often than I would like to see in smaller, discussion-based classes, even classes directed towards a specific major.

All professors have their own policy regarding technology in class. Some are stricter than others, but it’s up to them to decide.

One of my professors this semester, Murat Menguc of the History Department is a firm believer in not having phones or laptops during class time.

“We’re all addicted. It’s not just you guys. I’m addicted to my phone and laptop as well but I’m not using either during class so you shouldn’t either. I wish I could bring in a bucket and have my students put their phones in it during class and then take that bucket and put it outside” Menguc said.

The universal problem is that a majority of students assume that they’re multitasking experts. They think they can absorb everything being taught while still on their phones or surfing the web.

Annie Murphy Paul, author of “Brilliant: The New Science of Smart” recently came to the conclusion in one of her studies that there is no real success in multitasking while in class.

“Multitasking while doing academic work — which is very, very common among young people — leads to spottier, shallower, less flexible learning” Murphy said.

With that being said, you could miss a life-changing lesson in class all because you’re taking the newest quiz on Buzzfeed.

Olivia Mulvihill is a sophomore journalism major from Allentown, Pennsylvania. She can be reached at

Author: Olivia Mulvihill

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