Over the last 20 years, technology has rapidly changed and expanded. As a result, college students have developed changes in how they study.
Andrew Jones, a junior microbiology major from Panhandle, said having his personal technology has not affected his attention in the classroom. However, it has affected his study habits at home.
“If I’m writing a paper, if I get in between ideas and I’m not continuously thinking and typing,” Jones said, “then I’ll go get distracted and get on Facebook or YouTube or something else like that.”
The accessibility of the internet has also affected Nathan Stevenson’s schoolwork. Stevenson, a senior biology major from Arlington, said his personal technology lengthens the time he spends on homework because it distracts him.
Losing focus in the classroom has become a problem for some students. Jade Dapaah, a junior exercise and sport sciences major from Grapevine, said her attention span during her classes does suffer because of her personal technology.
“Sometimes I get in the habit of putting my phone away. For the majority, I would say I have my phone on me and it definitely can distract me,” Dapaah said. “If you get bored, you just automatically go to your phone.”
To avoid distraction, Dapaah recommends deleting apps or limiting the number of times students check their phones while studying.
Marta Kvande, associate professor of restoration and 18th century British literature, taught for about 20 years. Technology advancements have changed the way students learn and focus in the classroom, she said.
“It certainly affects engagement in class discussions at times,” Kvande said, “meaning that students who are very attached to their devices are less engaged in class.”
The focus of students in the classroom may have decreased slightly, but the amount of information at their fingertips has also helped their learning, Kvande said. It has provided access to some study tools they otherwise would not have had.
There are also ways that it can be positive in the classroom,” Kvande said. “For instance, I have a lot of students who use their phones to do readings to get the online texts, and I know that’s a huge help because they can get free versions of the texts that way.”
Technology both helps and hinders students in their research, Kvande said. It has a tendency to create basic work ethic rather than delve deeper into their subjects, Kvande said.
“There’s lots of information that is very readily available to students, and for the most part it’s a really positive thing,” Kvande said. “They tend to limit themselves to things that are online.”
In her own studies or preparations for classes, Kvande utilizes both technology and traditional study tools. They both have their purposes, she said.
“I have an iPad that I got specifically so that I can use the PDF of the texts from the databases and mark on them, and that’s way easier than having a printout. I use that for journal articles as well,” Kvande said. “It feels a lot more efficient to me. When I’m reading stuff that I’m going to teach, I like having the hard copy.”
Both Jones and Stevenson said they believe technology has helped their schoolwork. Stevenson said he listens to music on his phone to stay focused during his study sessions. Jones said that he feels technology has made studying easier as well.
“I think that the Internet can make it easier, because if you’re looking for something specific, you don’t have to spend time looking in a book, reading the whole page looking for just one word,” Jones said. “Whereas on the computer, you can just go type in what you’re looking for and find it immediately.”