College Kids Make Lectures Less Boring by Texting All Through Class

Most text and tweet 11 times a day during class

  • Share
  • Read Later

Kids these days.

A new study published in the Journal of Media Education shows college students are spending a good chunk of class time fiddling with their smartphones, much to the dismay of their professors.

Bernard McCoy, an associate professor of broadcasting at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln surveyed 777 students at six universities during the fall 2012 semester and found that students pull out their phones, tablets, and laptops an average of 11 times per day while in class.

Eighty-six percent of students say they use their phones to text. While 68% and 66% said they were checking email and social networks, respectively.

The students, however, realize staying connected in class often comes with a price, 80% admitted they miss instruction when they use their devices in class though less than 5% considered using the devices a “big distraction.”

“I don’t think students necessarily think it’s problematic,” McCoy said in a news release. “They think it’s part of their lives.”

[University of Nebraska-Lincoln]


I'm reading this in class right now.


This is one major reason I am about to leave university teaching. Students say they don't like lectures and prefer stimulation and interaction-- in fact, the duller ones basically demand to be entertained. But even if  the professor builds in participation and interaction, as I do, these students turn any class into a lecture because they are too distracted to interact, even if they get some gist of the class discussion.  It also distracts and disturbs many other students, who do want to learn and are engaged.  To be fair, at least 70% of my students don't text, though I am known as my department's liveliest professor, and other classes seem to have a higher rate of texting. Even so, I am fed up with it. They are welcome to get lectures that don't invite involvement. In general, I love students but have more interesting things to do than fight for their attention as well as their understanding. 


How would they know it's boring? They're not listening.