The Unintended Consequence of Student Internet Research

A research report finds both positive and negative effects of digital technology on student research and writing habits.

by News Staff / November 2, 2012 0

The Internet and digital technologies have had mostly a positive impact on student research and writing habits, 77 percent of teachers surveyed say. But they're also contributing to today's students becoming an "easily distracted generation with short attention spans," according to a survey of teachers conducted by the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project.

In the survey, 87 percent of 2,462 middle and high school teachers in the U.S. said students were becoming easily distracted. And 64 percent say that technology distracts students more than it helps them research.

These aren't just students in an average class, either. More than half of the teachers in the survey teach Advanced Placement, honors and accelerated courses. And nearly a third of the teachers attended the National Writing Project's Summer Institute to learn how to teach writing in a digital environment.

Along with technology being a distraction, access to research online means students want information quickly, are overwhelmed by the amount of information available, and have a harder time finding credible information sources. That's why 47 percent of teachers strongly agree and 44 percent somewhat agree that digital literacy should have a place in school curriculum.