Posted by on Sep 29, 2016 in Education, Human Resource Management, Management, Nursing, Research Administration, Student Resources, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Greetings GPPers,

With the start of the Fall semester securely under your belt, I thought it might be helpful to share some wise words from the experts: professors. I came across an article on the Chronicle of Higher Education titled “Welcome Freshman. Look at Me When I Talk to You”. While the article is meant for the traditional college freshman, the message applies to all students – “Look at me when I’m talking to you”. Author Jonathan Zimmerman, professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education, has a simple plea to students: “Take [your] eyes off [your] phones and laptops.”

In today’s digital age, laptops and cell phones are not only used in the classroom as note-taking aides, but are also used to research, to distract, to learn and to procrastinate…all at the same time. Many students say they are simply multitasking. They are listening to the professor, taking notes, looking up information to clarify a point, etc. But how much information is truly absorbed when we are so busy? The late Stanford professor, Clifford Nass, conducted research to see how effective these multitaskers actually were. Turns out, not very. His research found that “people who multitask infrequently are actually better at it than those who do it all the time”.  He found that multitaskers were “chronically distracted, which inhibits their performance in everything they do”. Research has also shown that “scrolling creates more distraction than flipping a page,” showing that people retain more information from reading print pages than a computer screen.

Why do I share this information with masters students? You are all seasoned students who have successfully completed their Bachelor’s degrees (some before the time of laptops and handheld devices!). I share this because in one form or another, we are all addicted to our devices. We check our cell phones or texts from our kids while in class. We take notes with our laptops so we can use that information later when typing up a paper. We have a million reasons, but the research shows, perhaps those online devices are not as helpful as they are meant to be. Turn your phone off. Close the laptop. Give yourself some time to absorb, interact, participate and generally ENJOY your class. Your professors will thank you. And maybe you will find you have learned more from this class than any other.