94% of high school kids use social networks in class

University of Haifa study shows permissive teaching style decreased phone usage; students also listen to music, play games.

Facebook on iPhone 370 (photo credit: Courtesy)
Facebook on iPhone 370
(photo credit: Courtesy)
According to a study conducted at the University of Haifa and released on Tuesday, 94 percent of Israeli high school students tend to surf social networking websites such as Facebook at least once during class.
The research, which was conducted by Dr. Itai Beeri and Dana Daniel, a student at the university’s School of Political Sciences, examined the extent of use, type of use, time of use, use of mobile phones as well as the relationship of usage to the teacher’s disciplinary methods in the classroom.
The data showed that students also listen to music, play games and send text messages and pictures, in addition to using sites like Facebook or YouTube.
In fact, 95% of students take pictures and record voice or video during class for purposes unrelated to school work; 94% regularly send email and text messages; 93% listen to music; and 91% even talk on their cellphones while sitting in class.
The results also revealed that on average, each student uses their mobile in 60% of the lessons.
“The use of the devices largely stands out. Students who highly disturb the flow of the lesson also are at risk for potential long-term, persistent and accumulative damage that expands far beyond the classroom,” the researchers wrote.
They added that this phenomenon clouds the education system, school atmosphere and academic achievements of the class, as well as the student’s learning experience and the teacher’s effectiveness in dealing with disciplinary problems.
“There is almost no time throughout the lesson during which none of the students is using his cellular phone,” the study noted.
Only 4% of the teenagers do not use their mobile phone in class at all.
Moreover, Berri and Daniel also found a relationship between the use of mobile devices in class, as reported by the students, and the disciplinary methods of their teachers, as reported by the teachers themselves.
According to them, teachers who have displayed more permissive methods have managed to decrease usage in their class, while instructors with a more rigid philosophy have higher rates of use in class.
The study, which involved 591 students in grades 10 to 12 and 144 teachers in various subjects from three Israeli high schools, also showed that mobile device use occurs more frequently in classes on humanistic rather than scientific subjects.
In addition, 10th-graders engage in the activity much more than 12th-graders, and the older the teacher, the lower the level of mobile phone usage.