Back to the Blackboard? Personal Technology Use and Knowledge Acquisition

Sunday, 8 November 2015: 11:00 AM

Patricia Frohock Hanes, PhD, MSN, MAEd, MS-DPEM, RN, CNE
School of Nursing, Azusa Pacific University, Azusa, CA, USA
Marilyn Klakovich, DNSc, RN, NEA-BC
School of Nursing, University of Phoenix, Azusa Pacific University, California State University, Fullerton, School of Nursin, Azusa, CA, USA

Background/Problem: Students in face-to-face classrooms (F2F) are using multiple technologies, communicating on social media, and surfing the web while listening to the professor. Faculty allow their adult learners to engage in use of information and communication technologies (ICTs). Faculty themselves use technology and social media in the classroom in the hope that it will engage students and enhance their learning. The problem we are examining is: Are we tacitly encouraging students’ intellectual “absence” by allowing them to use multiple technologies in the classroom? Is there an effect on peers’ learning?

Conceptual Frameworks: The theory of situated action, gratifications theory, theories of cognition, media theories, and Bloom’s taxonomy were used in this study.

Methods: A review of the literature was conducted using the following search terms: social media, multitasking, technology, nursing, students, presence, attention, and distraction. Articles were limited to those from 2010 and later involving higher education in a F2F format. Disciplines represented in the articles included nursing, computer science, cognitive psychology, education, communication, marketing, media studies, neuroscience, and academic development. A preliminary survey was conducted, asking nursing students about technology use in the classroom.

Results: Review of the literature revealed that although several large-scale studies have been conducted with non-nursing populations, little was found related to nursing students’ use of technology in the classroom. Key findings were that multitasking degrades learning and increases learning time, decreases student engagement, and lowers GPA. Use of technology not only has a negative effect on those students using the technology, but also negatively affects the learning of those around them. Furthermore, biological influences may affect students’ ability to refrain from using technology. Students revealed that they engage in multiple technology use, unrelated to course content, during class time, and that this use disengages them from the class and inhibits learning.

Conclusions and Implications: There are multiple entities competing for students’ attention in today’s F2F classroom. The role of the professor is to limit outside distractions and encourage delayed gratification (learning) versus immediate gratification (technology use). Teaching strategies need to be interactive versus passive. Further studies are needed with larger samples of nursing students and incorporating both qualitative and quantitative data with NCLEX pass rates as an outcome variable. Further research is also needed on effective teaching strategies related to technology, social media use, and learning outcomes.