The joke among lecturers goes like this: you can receive “instant feedback” on your teaching simply by observing how many texts and social media posts your students send on their mobiles during class. If a student sends 20 messages during your three-hour session, your lecture is probably lacking and has likely failed to capture much of their attention. If, on the other hand, a student only sends five texts, your lecture must be excellent.
This may be a joke. But in recent years, many of my colleagues and I have noted an upswing in the frequency of students texting during class. Now a new study from Baylor University in the US has indicated that approximately 60% of college students admit they may be addicted to their phones. Researchers found that female students spend an average of 10 hours a day on their phones, while men spend nearly eight hours a day.
Perhaps there is no effective way to stop students feeding their addiction during lectures. After all, they are adults capable of choosing their own life priorities and I feel no desire to play parent or policeman.