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Oct 26, 2013 10:38 AM EDT

Students Check Their Phones 11 Times per Class, Survey

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Once again smartphones are making headlines for all the wrong reasons! It seems instead of concentrating on lessons taught in the classroom, students are busily occupied with their devices.

University students on an average check their phones 11 times a day while in class, more than 80 per cent have reported that this tech fascination affects their learning and a fourth of the respondents admitted their grades have suffered as a result, according to a new study conducted by researchers from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Barney McCoy, an associate professor of broadcasting at the university, arrived at the conclusion after surveying 777 students in six universities across five states during the 2012 fall semester including UNL and the University of Nebraska at Omaha in Nebraska, Morningside College in Iowa, the University of North Carolina, the University of Kansas and the University of Mississippi.

McCoy questioned the students about their usage of digital devices in the classroom for non-educational purposes.

-          35 percent of students used their phones or tablets in class one to three times per day, 27 percent did it four to 10 times and 16 percent said they used them 11 to 30 times per day. Only eight percent said that they never used phones in class for non-educational purposes.

-          70 percent of the students checked their devices frequently to stay connected, 79 percent used them to check the time, 55 percent to fight boredom and 49 percent used the devices for class work purposes.

-          86 percent of them texted during the class, 68 percent used their phones to check personal emails, 66 percent for social websites, 38 per cent surfed the web and eight per cent admitted to playing with their smartphones.

-          Eight out of 10 students admitted that their devices posed distractions and less than five per cent considered it to be a 'very big' distraction.

-          90 percent of them don't pay attention, 80 percent miss instructions and 32 percent get called out by their instructor.

-          Less than 17 percent said that digital devices were not a distraction.

Despite establishing a link between use of digital device in classroom with poor performances, more than 91 percent were not in favor of classroom ban on digital devices.  72 percent wanted the instructor to speak to the offender and 65 percent of them prefered a first-offense warning, followed by penalties for those caught using devices for non-classroom purposes.

"I don't think students necessarily think it's problematic,' McCoy told Daily Mail UK. "They think it's part of their lives. It's become automatic behaviour on the part of so many people - they do it without even thinking about it. They've got their laptops open, but they're not always taking notes. Some might have two screens open - Facebook and their notes."

McCoy said that his interest in the effects of the digital device began when he started his teaching career seven years ago, the same time when smartphones were becoming popular among students. Standing in front of the class he would notice students either reading or typing out a text, showing a complete lack of attention.

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