Friend or Foe?
Rapid changes in technology over the past two decades have provided many benefits. For many of us, the transformation to the digital age has been gradual; and, most often, welcomed. We have discovered innovative ways to make use of technology in our classes with the aim of enhancing the learning experience for our students. But what about today’s students, often referred to as millennials, who have never known anything but instant access to information? Computers, smart phones, iPads, and other technologies offer their users immediate access to information. These technologies can also be seen as a significant distraction to whatever the task at hand. Could these distractions be to blame for the perception of many millennials that they must multitask in order to get everything done? Could the effects of instant access to information through the use of various forms of technology be casting a cloud on student learning? If so, does this cloud have a silver lining? The aim of this paper is to address these types of questions using survey data obtained from students enrolled in a second-level physics course.
KeywordsDigital age Millennials Multitasking Student learning in physics Technology and student learning
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