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Digital Distraction: Shedding Light on the 21st-Century College Classroom


Journal of Educational Technology Systems Volume 46, Number 3, ISSN 0047-2395


It is not uncommon to walk into a college classroom and find all heads bowed down to a flashing screen and the room . . . silent. While digital devices can certainly support learning, what about when they are a distraction? This study explored this 21st-century phenomenon from two perspectives: Does the use of a device for nonacademic purposes during a learning activity interfere with learning? Does the classroom policy about digital device use play a role? A total of 351 college students from 20 classes participated in this study. Short-term retention was checked: A video on educationally relevant material was shown followed by a brief quiz on that material. The results are informative for both factors--multitasking and policy effectiveness.


Aaron, L.S. & Lipton, T. (2018). Digital Distraction: Shedding Light on the 21st-Century College Classroom. Journal of Educational Technology Systems, 46(3), 363-378. Retrieved October 5, 2022 from .

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