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Use of Electronic Devices in Class

The presence and use of electronic devices in the undergraduate classroom creates strong
opinions as well as confusion among instructors. Policies vary as to allowing students to use
mobile phones, tablets and/or laptops, and eBooks during class. These devices may hinder or
support the learning environment, depending on course context and how classroom policies are
A body of literature in psychology research suggests that the use of electronic devices in
class can lead to a distracting learning environment. While much of the research has relied on
self-report, Ravizza et al. (2016) measured the actual duration of student Internet use in class
using laptops, student motivation, achievement in class, and intelligence. They found that
students who used laptops in class for nonacademic reasons had poorer class performance, as
indicated by their final grade. These students spent most of their in-class web time on social
media, e-mail clients, and shopping websites. Researchers also found that although students
accurately self-reported their internet use in class and predicted its impact (whether negative or
positive) on their learning, this did not change their class behaviors. Student intelligence as
measured by ACT score, interest in the material, and motivation to learn did not account for
these findings. Outcomes of cell phone studies echoed these results in the context of multitasking
(Junco, 2012).
Pedagogically, however, there is also value to using electronic devices in class. Small
studies indicate improvements to active learning and student engagement with content through
the use of Twitter (which requires personal devices for students), especially when that use was
continued outside the classroom (Chawinga 2017, Al-Bahrani, et. al 2015, and Jaquemin, et. al
2014). Tablets and laptops can also enable the use of eBooks, and are sometimes essential to
maintaining accessibility standards. Ultimately, instructors can consider major research findings,
their own philosophy on the issue, the goals of their instruction, and the goals and needs of their
students as they craft policies and strategies to maximize student engagement.
If instructors choose to introduce electronic devices in class, several strategies can reduce
the forms of distraction identified in recent research:
Targeted Electronic Activities - As explored below, inviting students to utilize their
devices for specific learning activities involving polls, notetaking, Twitter, or collaboration can
channel the desire to engage with devices, recognize the realities in students’ social lives, and
teach how those realities can enable more effective learning practices.
Integrating of Polling Software - Online programs such as Poll Everywhere(link is
external) allow instructors to ask questions as a formative assessment to monitor student
learning. Students can quickly respond to polls using their mobile phones.
Student Notetaking - Some students may desire to take notes on their laptops or other
devices. Research suggests that writing notes out by hand is more effective than by computer
(Mueller & Oppenheimer, 2014); however, collaborative or shared notetaking strategies may be
easier with electronic devices.
Student Research - For courses in which students must find primary or secondary
sources, access to online library databases and other resources is often imperative.
Student Collaboration - A variety of tools can be used for collaboration in the classroom.
For example, a Google Doc (link is external)is a web-based tool that can be edited by all students
at the same time, making it appealing for group work.
Implementation of Active Learning Exercises - Active learning exercises may require
students to access online websites and tools to perform group activities like concept mapping,
surveys, or class-time research.
Course Syllabi Policies - In general, clear guidelines can be given on the syllabus as to
whether students are permitted to use electronic devices in the class. Syllabus
language and classroom policy language can be easily adapted and modeled. The instructor
should announce any policies on the first day of class, and may need to revisit them as needed
during the semester.
“Leave it in the Bag” (Every or Most Classes)- As Straumsheim (2016) suggests, if an
instructor does not want their students to use their mobile phones during class, they can verbally
indicate this at the beginning of class and demonstrate by holding their cell phone up, turning it
off or silencing, and putting it away. The instructor can also give time for students to follow the
same actions. Impact on participation or attendance may be considered for policy violations.
Put Away Devices (After Use in Class) - If an instructor permits students to use
technology for a particular academic activity, at the conclusion of the lesson, the instructor can
explicitly state that it is now time for the students to log off or put devices away, and give time
for students to do so. Impact on participation or attendance may be considered for policy
Active Learning Exercises - As an evidence-based strategy, instructors should consider
implementing the active engagement of students in class. Students are less likely to access social
media, e-mail, etc. on their devices when they are more engaged in class and motivated to
Instructor Walks Around the Classroom - In general, instructors who are physically able
can walk around during class. This can be particularly powerful during group or pair work when
an instructor is able to discuss topics 1:1 with students and/or pose questions. These interactions
can encourage student attentiveness in class while discouraging improper device use.
Notetaking - Practices like collaborative note taking on a Google doc or concept mapping
in MindMeister can encourage focused use of electronic devices, and instructors can set clear
expectations that students take active notes in class. When laptops are not permitted in class,
instructors can reiterate to students how research has shown that note taking by hand proves
more effective than by laptop computer (Mueller and Oppenheimer, 2014).
Accessibility Awareness - Instructors should provide clear spoken and syllabus language
welcoming students to share their accessibility concerns, and provide dynamic electronic policies
to support students who are print- disabled.

Al-Bahrani, A., and Patel, D. (2015). Incorporating Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook in
Economics Classrooms. Journal of Economic Education 46.1: 56-67.
Chawinga, W. (2017). Taking social media to a university classroom: teaching and learning
using Twitter and blogs. International Journal of Educational Technology in Higher Education
14.1: 1-19.
Jacquemin, S., Smelser, L., and Bernot, M. (2014). Twitter in the Higher Education Classroom:
A Student and Faculty Assessment of Use and Perception. Journal of College Science Teaching
43.6: 22-27.
Junco R. (2012). In-class multitasking and academic performance. Computers in Human
Behavior 28(6): 2236-2243.
Mueller PA & Oppenheimer DM. (2014). The Pen is Mightier Than the Keyboard: Advantages
of Longhand Over Laptop Note Taking. Psychological Science 25(6):1159-1168.
Ravizza SM, Uitvlugt MG, Fenn KM. (2016). Logged in and Zoned Out: How Laptop Internet
Use Relates to Classroom Learning. Psychological Science, 1-10.

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year,” so the Staples commercial goes.
It’s back-to-school time, as students change gears from the lazy days of summer and shift back to
hitting the books. Today’s classrooms are equipped with the latest technology to enhance
instruction. Here are some favourite student and teacher gadgets for use in day-to-day learning:
1) Smartphones – Smartphone use in the classroom is still somewhat controversial, but
the Calgary Board of Education actually encourages it as a learning tool. In an interview with
CTV, Queen’s University National Scholar and Associate Professor Sidneyeve Matrix compared
the situation to when calculators were first used by students in the classroom. “We had a whole
new level of computational skill, and now we’re going to have a whole new level of mobile
digital skills when we turn to mobile learning on the handhelds.”

2) Laptops and tablets – Technology users are moving towards being more mobile,
and teachers and students are a significant part of that trend. Last month, Lenovo, the world’s top
PC vendor reported that they sold more smartphones and tablets than PCs for the first time ever.

3) Interactive whiteboards – Calgary-based SMART Technologies’ SMART Boards

are popular with both teachers and students. Teachers can project presentations onto the SMART
Boards and they can write, touch and interact with their content.

4) Document cameras – Document cameras are a fun way for teachers to show
students new and interesting ways of looking at objects. Whether they are zooming in on the
smaller details of a 3D object, or observing science experiments, students can share an equal
view of the lesson – without crowding the teacher’s desk.

5) mp3 players – Whether a student is listening to his own music while studying, or a
teacher is playing an audio book to her students, mp3 players are an increasingly common sight
in schools. Both teachers and students can make full use of mp3 players in their school activities.

While the best learning models still involve personal communication, technology can be
introduced in any number of ways to enhance student learning and make lectures more
interactive. What are some of your favourite educational tech gadgets?

Author: Heidi Gammuac

5 Reasons Technology Should Be Allowed in the Classroom

Letting students use their devices in class can personalize and improve the educational
experience in many ways.
By Nicole Antonucci
The use of personal technology devices in the classroom is prevalent at colleges and universities.
Rather than embracing this trend, some faculty, departments and even entire institutions have
started putting limitations on students’ use of personal technology in class.
I have experienced this firsthand in multiple classes at my own university. It started with teachers
asking students to put away their mobile phones; now instructors are asking us to keep our
laptops closed for the duration of class. The reasons behind these limitations typically have been
concerns about students’ attention spans: a desire to prevent multitasking, keep them off of social
media sites and limit distractions to others.
While it is inevitable that students will be distracted at times, putting constraints on the use of
personal technology devices will not solve this problem. Restricting use of devices in the
classroom is moving away from the trend of improving education by integrating technology.
Here are five reasons why educational institutions should continue on that path instead of
stepping back.
Students are technology natives. Using technology is second nature to students. They have
grown up with it and incorporate it into almost every aspect of their lives. Notebooks, tablets and
cellphones are all technology that students are accustomed to and can use as ancillary learning
aids. They should not lose access to potential learning tools that have known benefits in a
Students use e-books. Many students are purchasing digital editions of textbooks instead of
traditional printed copies for a variety of reasons, including cost efficiency, ease of accessibility,
and environmental friendliness. E-books are typically accessed through a student’s personal
device, such as a notebook, tablet or cellphone. Students should have access to them to look up
information during class.
Students want streamlined organization. Personal technology devices have a range of features
that can aid students with organization, such as note-taking applications, calendars and virtual
sticky notes. These help students stay more organized by keeping all of their information
centralized and connected between devices. Users can find what works for them and tailor their
devices to help them perform more effectively.
Students need access to supplemental information. Mobile devices give students Internet access.
Although it can be used inappropriately by some (such as to check Facebook or Twitter),
students often use the Net to find more information about a topic being discussed in class. Not
only can students use their personal devices to find extra data on their own, but professors can
provide additional information that is easily accessible to their students.
Students can prepare for work in the field. At the higher-education level, many students
participate in field work as part of their specific areas of study. Much of this work requires the
use of technology. For example, graphic design students may work on real projects that require
relevant applications that are accessed through their personal devices. Learning how to use these
apps in the classroom allows students will prepare them for using them outside of it.

Why Is It Important To Use Technology In The Classroom

Students interact with technology while off the campus, so integrating this technology into
classrooms will simply make it very easy for them to learn. Teachers have to learn how to use
latest new educational technology so that they also simplify the way they do their Job.
Technology provides educators effective ways to teach and reach different types of students.
Technology can also bond the relationship between teachers and their students. Because teachers
will have to interact and guide students on how to use this technology, and it will also bring
teachers closer to students, since these students can use technology platforms like to
ask questions and get instant answers from their teachers.
It is also important to incorporate modern technology in classrooms as a way of preparing
students for the outside tech demanding jobs and tasks. Now every job will require some skills of
technology, so it is very important to bring this technology in the classroom and to also
incorporate it into the all educational curriculum. On the other hand technology is much
cheaper than what we think. A basic text book can cost a student $100 and some time more.
Through the use of free educational tools which allow students access academic information for
free at a less cost, every student will have the ability to gain knowledge. Their is an effort which
is going through organizations like OER COMMONS , to ensure that educational resources can
be accessed through an open source online.

• Easy access to educational materials: Teachers can use new technology tools like Pizza
to easily answer student’s questions, manage course materials and track student participation.
Also students can access Pizza on their computers or portable gadgets to access course work
assigned to them by their teachers. This saves time on both sides.
• New Technology Motivates Students: The use of computers and other new
technological gadgets in class makes students like what they learn. These students are familiar
with these gadgets, because they use them in their daily life for entertainment, so integrating
them in the classroom will make learning fan. As opposed to getting instructions from a teacher
directly, students will prefer getting these instructions via the computer, a teacher can be
emotional which can irritate the student and stop them from learning, yet a computer is just a
gadget, the student will be in control and they will take information on the computer more
• Increases Students Participation: New technologies for education like portable laptops
and internet allow students to learn and participate while out of the classroom. Sometime
learning from one place can be boring, so technology makes it flexible. A student can simply
access course material or get involved in a peer discussion suing an Ipad or a Galaxy Tablet
• Improves Students Writing skills: Computer applications like word processors make it
easy to write and edit notes, these applications also have inbuilt dictionaries which will help in
improving a student’s vocabulary. Also students can decide to publish their works on blogs were
other students can access them. This is more interesting compared to taking notes in the book
with a pen.
• Subjects are made easier to learn: It is very easy to learn new subjects using a
computer and internet. Many computer applications have been created to make learning of new
subjects easier. Students can easily solve math equations through online match games and
puzzles. Students can easily learn new languages using free online language translators
• Encourages Personalized learning plans: In this case , students are encouraged to use
various multimedia technological tools to demonstrate them selves in the classroom. In this
process , students get more involved in the process and they learn better.