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Teacher Has Students Turn Up Cellphones so She Can Demonstrate Just How Distracted They Are

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The most shocking part may be that this is just one class period.

As WKYC reports, a trustee for a Catholic school system in Alberta, Canada, recently shared the result of one teacher’s experiment in cellphone distractions. Joe Becigneul explained that an American teacher named Mary Garza wanted to record the number of cellphone notifications that occurred during her fourth-period class.

The teacher created multiple categories for the different kinds of phone notifications (like Facebook, Snapchat, emails, texts, etc.) and then had her students turn up the volume on their phones. Every time a student received a notification, he or she would mark it down under the proper category on the tally sheet.

School teacher Mary Garza had her students turn their phones all the way up. Every time they got a notification, they tallied it. One class. One period. Yowza. – Bruce on Star 105.5

Posted by Star 105.5 McHenry County on Monday, March 11, 2019

By the end of the period, the sheet was filled with hundreds of tally marks. As Becigneul wrote on Facebook:

This was one class, one period. Every one of these tally marks is an interruption in a student’s education.

Cell phones can be toxic to a learning environment.

Seeing how many distractions can occur in just one classroom period was a wake-up call. Many commenters wondered why the students were allowed to have phones in the class at all.

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Others pondered what the long-term effect of such heavy phone usage might be.

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Becigneul’s claim that cellphones are detrimental to the learning environment is borne out by research.

A study from Rutgers University found a connection between students using phones and tablets during lectures and lower performance on end-of-year exams. Moreover, letting students use the devices in class hurt the performance of their classmates without devices as well. As the lead researcher told Rutgers Today:

“Many dedicated students think they can divide their attention in the classroom without harming their academic success – but we found an insidious effect on exam performance and final grades. To help manage the use of devices in the classroom, teachers should explain to students the damaging effect of distractions on retention – not only on themselves, but for the whole class.”

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  1. I admire the teacher for teaching her students such a valuable lesson. All students should be taught the same.

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