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More than 50% of students text during lectures

Meetoo says that lecturers should use students' devices to their advantage

Posted by Hannah Vickers | February 07, 2017 | Higher education

A new survey has found that 86% of undergraduates use their phones or tablets during lectures, with 54% texting, googling or using them for other purposes unrelated to their studies.

Meetoo says that lecturers trying to engage students who insist on using their phones and tablets during their sessions are missing out on opportunities to use these devices to their advantage.

The survey also indicates that these distractions are taking their toll. Some 56% of students say that they sometimes come away from a lecture with little understanding of what the session was all about.

The research was carried out by Meetoo to measure levels of engagement among current students who have grown up with smartphones, tablets, computer and video games and more interactive learning methods during their primary and secondary education.

“It used to be a battle to stop students being too side-tracked from their studies outside of contact time with their lecturers. Now there’s fierce competition for their attention even during teaching sessions, with lecturers having an increasingly difficult job,” says Jon Fowler, managing director, education, Meetoo.

There are now tools to harness this dependence and these play into the way today’s students prefer to work - Jon Fowler, managing director, education, Meetoo

“However, there are now tools to harness this dependence and these play into the way today’s students prefer to work, so improving engagement, but also providing significant benefits to lecturers too. For example, our survey shows that 64% of students sometimes come away from lectures wishing certain topics had been more fully explained. With 76% of students feeling they would ask more questions in lectures if there was a way of asking them anonymously, we know products like Meetoo can improve student experience.”

Fowler added: “Apps or web-based tools for live polling, question and answer sessions and real-time discussions (which may be anonymous) provide this communication channel while giving lecturers a more accurate picture of levels of understanding, points of concern and views on the topic.”

The survey does also reveal some positive ways as to how lectures might evolve in the future. Over half of students polled (54%) think that more lectures will be filmed and offered as a downloadable podcast. However, there is strong support (41%) for lectures becoming more flexible and student- driven with lecturers responding more readily to areas of interest and need. Of those surveyed, 40% think lectures will become more interactive like seminars, where information will be discussed and questions asked, after students have gathered the initial information together via private study, videos and other tools.

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