Texting while learning?

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FEBRUARY 17, 2011
College Students Multitask 
During Lectures
College students used their laptops for frequent multitasking during classes, generating, on average, more than 65 new screen windows per lecture, 62% of which were unrelated to the courses they were taking, say James M. Kraushaar and David C. Novak of the University of Vermont. Students who allocate more cognitive resources to bringing up non-course-related material on their computers show lower academic performance. Instant messaging seems "especially virulent" as a distraction, the researchers say.
Source: Examining the Affects of Student Multitasking With Laptops During the Lecture

This is from the Harvard Daily Stat.  A fun, free subscription.

This stat interested me because I deal with this in the classroom all of the time.  Participants in my courses increasingly have their laptop open and are constantly checking their email and texts.  Add this to the drudgery of airline travel - and it discourages me from teaching live.  I'd rather not see folks ignoring me.  And is it OK for someone to earn CPE credit for doing their normal work on their computer?  Yes, their butt is in the seat - but their head is somewhere else.  

You've been to a bar with friends and witnessed musicians pouring their heart out to a luke warm response.  Everyone is talking and drinking and doing whatever!  Is that where live CPE is going?  

It is too bad, actually.  Because my classes are interactive and folks do learn and experience stuff.  I don't do 'straight lecture.'  But some boring professor type instructors do - and it almost encourages people to find some other way to entertain themselves to stay awake and in the chair.  And if training is just a commodity product that you have to suffer through, why not do your regular job while being there? 

I remember one of my first classes for CPAs... a woman actually commented that she was mad at me and would never show up to my courses again because the nature of my class did not allow her to complete her self-study course during my live course.  She always earned double credit for a days investment by having her butt in the seat AND completing an self-study quiz at the same time.   Wow.

Last year, I was training live in one city for a CPA firm but was broadcast to four other cities.  Unfortunately, I could see what the folks in the other locations were doing on a large screen TV.  I wish I couldn't see them typing away, sifting through financial statements, having short meetings with each other.  

I don't imagine myself as the world's greatest instructor worthy of every second of a students attention in the classroom.  But should you earn credit just for showing up?  I don't think so.


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