An Examination of Students' Use of Technology for Non-Academic Purposes in the College Classroom

Zachary George Charles Kornhauser, Andrea L. Paul, Karen L. Siedlecki


Previous research has shown that students who use technology in the classroom for non-academic purposes suffer decrements to their academic performance. These findings are consistent with theories and research in cognitive science. However, no current study has examined the sorts of technology that students use in class, their reasons for using it, and whether they feel that it is acceptable to use it. The current study sought to qualitatively explore these questions across a sample (N= 105) of college students. Results reveal that the most common use of technology in the classroom is text messaging and emailing, and that students regularly use technology for a variety of non-academic reasons. Limitations of this study include the homogeneity of the participant sample.  Future research should determine what factors lead students to use technology for non-academic purposes and also identify effective strategies for preventing or managing students’ use of technology for non-academic purposes in the college classroom.


post-secondary education; media in education; pedagogical issues; teaching/learning strategies

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