This article is going to be four years old later this year. So, I’m sure that all of the numbers that are presented in this infographic are no longer accurate, not to mention that The Huffington Post is not known for their scholarly content. However, there’s one statistic that I’d like to address.
Right up top. 59% of professors think that the collaboration made possible by online and mobile technologies benefit students in the classroom in a positive way.
Directly below that, 56% of professors agree that online and mobile technologies are more distracting than they are helpful in the classroom.
So this means that at least 6% of teachers who believe that online and mobile technology is helpful also thinks it’s more distracting than it is helpful.
I’ll be honest. If I were polled I would be one of these 6%. There are so many good things that can be done with these “online technologies.” But there are also so many distracting features built into them as well.
Is it as cut and try that social media is a distraction? And the online discussion boards, and digital peer review capabilities on Canvas are useful tools?. I don’t think so. Social media can be mined for information. While you might not want to portray what you read in the comment section as fact, trends can be mapped, you can follow politicians, and you can gauge the reactions of the general population to certain events through comment sections and hashtags. A quick summon search resulted in more than 10,000 hits for scholarly and peer reviewed articles for “Social Media and the Arab Spring.”
So, it all comes down to intentions, right? We have this magical box in our pockets that connects up to an endless catalogue of knowledge and learning, but you can also use this same box to argue with strangers about nothing, sing praises to the greatest breakfast meat, Bacon, and browse pictures of cats… all day long. So as long as you are using the tools for the purpose of learning then they are helpful tools. But if you’re just flipping through Facebook, or browsing the bacon sub-reddit it’s a distraction.