Instructor Experience Affects Perception of Student Technology Use as a Sign of Engagement


Devices such as cell phones, tablets, and laptops have become commonplace in the classroom. Students can use these devices to disengage and distract others or to take notes and collaborate with others. Recognizing the difference is now a critical skill for university instructors. Assessing student engagement and responding to disengaged students are learned skills that develop with experience. This case study, conducted at a large public university, supports the idea that an older, more experienced instructor is better able to assess engagement in the classroom than a younger, less experienced instructor. Interestingly, the experienced instructor used student technology use as a behavioral cue of engagement while the inexperienced instructor did not. The younger instructor was unsure whether student technology use was a sign of engagement or disengagement. However, the experienced instructor used cell phone use and the noise of student typing as signs of positive engagement. Initiating discussions between experienced and inexperienced instructors on the cues they use to measure in-class engagement could increase the rate at which instructors develop this critical skill.

Author Information
Andrew Kardohely, Clemson University, United States
Dylan Dittrich-Reed, Clemson University, United States

Paper Information
Conference: IICEHawaii2017
Stream: Professional Concerns, Training and Development

This paper is part of the IICEHawaii2017 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon