The Distraction of Technology in the Classroom
Sam Goundar

Ubiquitous ICT devices of today's tertiary students are far more "cognitively penetrating". They are demanding of one's attention and highly pervasive of the learning environment. They have dramatically changed the ecology of education from "learner-plus-learning-material" into "learner-plus-learning-material-plus-technologyand- distraction".The writing skills and old-fashioned brain have been replaced with ICT devices. Students no longer need to write notes, as online course materials are a click away. They perhaps no longer need to use their brains (and powers of cognition, perception and attention) to the extent they once did in order to understand what is being taught.Given the above, the question that needs to be addressed is: how does the availability of such ubiquitous technology impact on students’ learning and our teaching? Formal systematic research on the distraction of ICT devices in tertiary classrooms in New Zealand is relatively limited and this research was conducted to explore the issue.Students reported being highly distracted by the use of ICT devices for nonacademic use during lectures by themselves and by their peers. Academics that do not use ICT devices in an integrated way during lectures should consider ways to limit or control its use. Students need to be informed about the distraction ICT devices to themselves and their peers.

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