Avoid Distraction from Electric Devices  

One of the readings this week, Leave Your Laptops at the Door to My Classroom, reminds one of my experience when I was an undergraduate student. I slept over a little bit for my class that day, so I left my apartment in rush. After my class in the morning, I realized that I forgot to bring my Iphone with me. I was a little bit anxious because I was not sure if someone sent me messages or called me. However, I had classes all day that day and wasn’t able to get my phone in the middle of the day. Then I had a one day’s experience to study without my phone. Surprisingly, I found myself more focused during the class and more efficient doing homework. Usually, I will check my phone when it notices me the emails, messages and all kinds of notifications. But since my phone was not with me anyway, I was able to 100% focus on learning.


Shortly after that, I heard stories that some students in my department don’t bring any electric devices everyday intently because they don’t want to be distracted by phones and laptops when they’re in the classroom and studying. From my personal experience, this practice is really a good way to help keep the students with instructors and get them involved in the class. However, there is a dilemma by doing so especially for class nowadays. A big issue here is computer/laptop has become a tool for teaching. For example, in our GEDI class, we pretty much use laptop every time we meet for group discussion and other practices. Some other classes rely even more heavily on laptops. But when instructors allow laptops in their classrooms, it’s really hard avoid distraction from it. Reading an email in the inbox probably only take one minute, but students can miss an important concept and get lost the rest of the class. Also, many students take notes on laptops nowadays because it’s just more convenient and easier.


So how to balance it out? I had a professor let the students use their laptops only when they are asked to, but close the laptop lid the rest of the class. Some professors also give students couple minutes during the class to check their phones and relax a little bit. These are all practice from professors to help students focus more on the class. But more importantly, the students should be aware of the distraction from electric devices and be willing to avoid that.


5 thoughts on “Avoid Distraction from Electric Devices  

  1. I’ve done and felt the same way when accidentally leaving my phone at home. I’m realistic. I’m not the most important person in the room, and the likelihood of me absolutely needing my phone every minute of the day is hovering around zero. Does this mean I want to leave it home everyday? Of course not, but it does put in perspective how easily the learning process can be damaged by distractions. I’ve tried to take steps at home to take me away from the temptation of watching tv, or surfing the internet, or mindlessly playing a game on my phone. Class can be a different story. Like you mention in your post, many instructors incorporate technology into the classroom routinely. This creates a strange balance between learning and distraction that we all will have to come to grips with.


  2. My story was different, That one day I forgot to bring my phone, I kept thinking about it and couldn’t focus all day until I got home. Haha! But I agree with you, electronic gadgets can be a source of distraction sometimes.


  3. Like you said, laptops are a great tool in the classroom, but also can be a distraction. I think your example of the professor that would ask students to put away the laptop when they are not using it for a classroom activity is a way to find a bit a balance. Though, like Sneha said above, putting the laptops away isn’t going to ensure that they are actually paying attention. Maybe they’re just dreaming of all the memes they are missing, or the facebook posts they could be catching up on.


  4. You bring up some good awareness of the issue at hand and I will say that it definitely depends on person to person and teacher to teacher on how technological methods can be used in the classrooms to make it a better and more conducive environment for meaningful learning.


  5. Digital distractions are like double-edge sword, even myself will constantly check my phone for incoming emails and/or messages. Still, I prefer keeping the classroom setting simple and trying not to use too many technologies except PPT slides, if I’m the instructor. I took the communicating science class, and any digital devices were not allowed. The instructor just let us sit in one circle and talked to us in person without PPT slides. The class environment was quite inviting, and we were all engaged in this class actively throughout the 3 hours.


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