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• Data highlight the prevalence of multitasking both within and outside classroom.
• In-class multitasking was found to be negatively predictive of current college GPA.
• Multitasking during homework increases time spent studying outside class.
• Texting emerged as a dominant multitasking activity within and outside classroom.
• Implications for technology use, practices and policies in academia are discussed.
Young adults, especially college students, are consistently engaging in multiple tasks simultaneously. They are texting, reading, and using social media while studying and attending class. While there are a variety of contexts and relationships likely influenced by this, the present research project examines the influence of media multitasking in the context of students in technology-saturated classrooms and how this is impacting learning and academic performance. A survey of college students examined the impact of technology-based multitasking behaviors both within and outside classrooms. Data demonstrate that those who multitask frequently in-class have lower current college GPAs. This relationship remained significant even after controlling for perceived multitasking efficacy and time spent studying outside of class. Texting emerged as a dominant activity both while attending class and while doing homework. Females seem to use technologies more for maintaining mediated interpersonal interactions and social connections. Males seem to use technology more for online information seeking and for consuming online videos. Those who reported multitasking while doing homework spent more time spent studying outside of class, thereby contributing to inefficient study habits. Implications for technology use, best practices and policies in academic settings are discussed.
Journal: Computers in Human Behavior - Volume 53, December 2015, Pages 63–70