Louise Katz, professor of psychology, Columbia State Community College, Columbia, TN, offered extra credit for students who turned off their cellphones before class and put them on the front desk. After nearly all the students accepted the offer, Katz decided to take her experiment to all of her classes for an entire semester.
She found more students paying attention, taking notes, and participating in class discussions. Then she upped the ante, offering five points of extra credit to students who completed a questionnaire and wrote an essay about their class experience.
Eighty-two of the 90 students in her classes took advantage of the opportunity, with 94% saying they either loved or at least liked turning off their phone during class. In addition, 67% said they could concentrate better in class with their phone off and 71% said the classroom atmosphere was more respectful.
“In addition to learning about psychology, the students also learned something else—a little bit about what life was like before the dawn of cellphones,” Katz wrote in a guest column for The Chronicle of Higher Education. “And perhaps, just perhaps, they may have begun to look forward to their brief visits to that different way of life.”