ArticlePDF Available

Technology Increases Students Attention

Authors:
Journal of College Teaching & Learning August 2006 Volume 3, Number 8
7
Technology Increases Students’ Attention
Joseph Mosca, (Email: mosca@monmouth.edu), Monmouth University
David Paul, (Email: dpaul@monmouth.edu), Monmouth University
Mickey Skiba, (Email: mskiba@monmouth.edu), Monmouth University
INTRODUCTION
ttention is an unconditional power in the sense that at any moment it can be applied indifferently to
any content of consciousness. For example, when an object, graphic, a short composition of words,
or model contain intelligible structures, these examples can promote consciousness to attention,
therefore gaining knowledge brought by attention. Consciousness does not begin to exist until it sets limits to an
object, graphic, a short composition of words, or model (Ponty, 2002). The classroom environment contains many
objects and distractions that can prevent the teacher from gaining attention. Therefore, the teacher must pay particular
attention when preparing lesson plans and teaching aids. The problem is the transfer of knowledge from the teacher to
the students and maintaining their attention. The teacher’s objective is to promote critical thinking on the part of the
students.
According to Gelder (2005), critical thinking applies to a very wide range of domains and contexts, and it
underlies the problem by which transfer of knowledge can fail. The teacher must develop skills to design lessons and
teaching aids that transfer knowledge. A critical skill is the development of teaching objectives that go beyond
superficial thinking. For example, all students know what a textbook is, but do they know how the textbook is
developed, manufactured, marketed, and finally in their possession? If the teacher transfers the knowledge of how a
textbook ends up in one’s hands or in a back pack, all of the steps involved would have to be presented and explained.
At that point, the students would have an appreciation for the textbook that is beyond the superficial, and the
knowledge gained from the transfer. They would know why one book containing color photographs costs more than a
text with black and white print and no photos.
This holds true when transferring knowledge of concepts all teachers teach in their respective courses. The
mere mentioning of a concept with an explanation is not good enough students require corresponding information
through the use of teaching aids to further explain new concepts to master knowledge. The intent of this paper is to
incorporate technology such as power points, graphics, and videos, to enhance the learning process of new concepts.
The use of such technologies allow the learner to visualize the concept. According to Gelder (2005), the better one can
see what is going on, the more effectively one can comprehend what one is learning. There are advantages through the
use of technology over verbal presentations, such as: Making reasoning more easily understandable, because students
can focus their attention. When the student can see the reasoning, which means he or she can relate to the concept,
they can identify the important issues and knowledge the teacher is transferring (Gelder, 2005). In addition, when the
teacher utilizes technology to transfer knowledge, students intern are more apt to prepare their presentations through
the use of technology. When students create an attention getting environment the learning process is expanded.
LITERATURE REVIEW
Teachers have and are learning about the value of incorporating technology in designing their lesson plans
and constructing an enhanced learning environment. The enhanced learning environment can foster the learners’
capacity to reason. Capacity is defined as higher-order-thinking, technology applications can support higher-order-
thinking by engaging students in complex tasks. Learning is not a practice of depositing or transferring knowledge
directly into the mind of the learner. When technology applications are integrated into the learning environment these
applications support capacity learning (Shutkin, 2004).
According to Wise (2003), ambiance is a wonderful word defined as an environment or its distinct
atmosphere. This refers to the feeling one can experience from a particular environment. It is the teacher’s
A
Journal of College Teaching & Learning August 2006 Volume 3, Number 8
8
responsibility to create a learning environment. Dynamic speakers can fail when the learning environment does not
facilitate the learning.
Using videos as a tool for teaching content ties what could be just glitzy technology directly to the lesson
plan increases students’ capacity to learn and communicate. Teaching communication used to be simple: teach writing
and speaking. However, today’s students must be able to communicate with pictures, both moving and still (Scot and
Harding, 2004).
When projecting a power point or video the discussion questions can be: What is the message you receive
from this projection? How does the graphic or text relate to the message you receive? How can you use this
information? Showing a clip or a power point helps students learn content (Hickman, 2004).
Classroom presentations have been an integral part of education. Traditionally, the finished product was a
written report presented to the class. These presentations were augmented by posters and three dimensional objects.
Many teachers and students alike have switched to modern technology software to spark interest and attention to
present information. Today’s teachers are seeking innovative technology based ways of enhancing concepts in the
classroom (Curchy and Kyker, 1995).
Audiovisual and presentation equipment makes a profound impact on the way teachers transfer knowledge.
These tools have assisted teachers in maintaining students’ attention. New technologies such as software have
transformed the nature of presentation equipment; traditional equipment has gone through major modifications. The
days of black and white transparencies and slide presentations are gone. These presentation tools have been replaced
by easy to use technologies used in many classrooms today. LCD projectors offer new innovative features for teacher
use. Now teachers can combine the best video clip, computer graphics, and overhead projection to produce bright and
high-resolution images on to large screens. In addition, the LCD projector can be connected to any computer for
uncomplicated use (Curchy and Kyker, 1995).
Van Horn (1998) conducted a review on Power Point stating how impressionable its ability was to handle a
wide variety of types of media. In less than two hours he was able to learn the program well enough to design a
presentation that contained still photos, sound files, a Quick Time video clip, and a Quick Time 360 degree panorama
with full cursor interactivity. The most intriguing feature of power point is its ability to make buttons. One can design
buttons that play music, jump to another slide, start running a program on your computer, or hyperlink you to a
website. With buttons, one can add considerable interactivity to presentations (Van Horn, 1998).
Fitch (2004) reported that within the past 15 years there has been an influx of significant technological
achievements having a positive impact within the higher education classroom. Today’s well equipped classroom
contains projection equipment that permits the teacher to display computer based instruction materials such as Power
Points, access to the internet, video capability, and the use of a projection panel to display print materials and show
details in close-ups of three dimensional models. These innovations have dramatically enhanced the means by which
classroom presentations are made.
In this technological age it has become vital for teachers to develop skills to design, analyze, synthesize and
evaluate information while integrating instructional technology in support of learning. A report from the National
Research Council (Bransford, Brown & Cocking, 1999) explores the potential of technology to provide conditions that
are conducive to meaning learning: real world contexts for learning, connections to outside experts, visualization and
analysis tools, scaffolds for problem solving, and opportunities for feedback, reflection and revision. Ultimately
instructional technology classrooms should be designed to impact the students cognitive system, to enhance students
skills, and promote transfer of knowledge. The learning environment is an area that should provide the learner with
technology that assists the learner to maintain attention to the instructional problem or concept being presented, and
comprehend the components of the problem being presented (Oberlander and Johnson, 2004).
Journal of College Teaching & Learning August 2006 Volume 3, Number 8
9
WHY INCORPORATE TECHNOLOGY IN THE CLASSROOM?
Teachers should consider the following five key behaviors that can contribute to effective teaching and the
transfer of knowledge: Lesson clarity, instructional variety, teacher task orientation, student engagement in the
learning process, and the students’ success rate.
Less effective teachers use vague, ambiguous, or indefinite language, and rely on lecture alone. These
teachers have a tendency to use overly complicated sentences and do not breakdown concepts into comprehendible
terms they do not use examples to allow students’ an opportunity to relate to the material being presented. Finally the
less effective teacher usually gives directions that cause confusion on the part of the learner.
Effective teachers pay heed to lesson clarity one of the key behaviors that focuses on how clear a
presentation is to the students’, such as: Design lesson plans that integrate Power Points to present concepts that are
understandable to the learner. Through the use of Power Points the teacher can explain concepts more clearly taking
advantage of visual attention getting slides, so their students are able to follow in a logical step-by-step order. In other
words the slide would be animated to project a portion of the concept at a time, therefore the building block approach.
To enhance the oral delivery a Power Point slide can display key words that the teacher uses as a back drop, asks what
might the key word mean, then fill-in the blanks by explaining the key word. This method would engage the students
in the learning process. What must be kept in mind is communicating clearly and directly. The students need to
maintain attention, and the Power Points can assist with attention and focus. This should reduce the time it takes to
introduce concepts because the students’ attention is focused on the projection screen and listening to the teachers’
presentation. Organization of the lesson plan with the Power Points and content is vital, time consuming, but pays off.
The results should be oral and visual clarity.
The instructional variety behavioral component refers to the variability of delivery during the presentation of
material. A traditional method of delivery is asking a variety of questions such as: fact questions, process questions,
convergent questions, and divergent questions. It is believed by the authors that questioning alone does not maintain
students’ attention, especially during an entire class period, considering that attention span is about fifteen minutes.
The authors believe that visually presented material can maintain focus, enhance the oral presentation, and influence
learning. Power Points can reduce students’ disruptive behavior and loss of attention.
Teacher task orientation behavior refers to how much classroom time the teacher dedicates to the task of
transferring knowledge of a concept. What the teacher needs to consider is how much material is being presented and
how much can be learned in a period of time. The use of attention getting approaches can be challenging questions
and visual enhancement of the presentation. Visual content can reduce the time it takes to transfer material, maintain
focus, and information overload. Matching questions with Power Point slides increases focus helping students’ to
relate to the material being presented.
Student engagement in the learning process is a key behavior that refers to the amount of time students
devote to learning a concept. It is the teacher’s responsibility to teach the students’ how to learn. Developing Power
Point slides that reflect the most relevant features of the concept knowledge to be transferred can guide and influence
the learner to learn. These slides can be coupled with oral presentation and questioning for active participation of the
learner for increased learning time and student engagement. The above four key behaviors can contribute to the final
and fifth behavior students’ success rate (Borich, 2000).
LITERATURE PERSPECTIVES
Incorporating technology in designing lesson plans and constructing an enhanced learning environment
influences students’ to learn and helps to engage them in the learning process. Today’s teachers should accept the
responsibility to create a learning environment. 21st Century students’ prefer to communicate and learn with the
integration of advanced technology.
Journal of College Teaching & Learning August 2006 Volume 3, Number 8
10
New advanced audiovisual presentation equipment and software have made a profound impact on the way
teachers transfer knowledge. Traditional black and white transparencies and lecture only methods to transfer
knowledge are passé. Advanced technologies offer innovative features for teachers to produce high resolution images
enabling them with the capabilities of enhancing lesson plans and presentations, such as through the use of Power
Points. When using Power Points the teacher and students’ can access the internet, incorporate videos, and display
print materials. It has become vital for modern day teachers to develop technological skills enabling them with the
capabilities to integrate instructional technology in support of learning.
The teacher should create a learning environment that provides the learner with technology enhanced
presentation materials that engage the learner to maintain attention and focus to comprehend the instructional problem
and or concept being presented. It is imperative for teachers to keep in mind that when a teacher reads from Power
Points it creates a dull repetitive non productive non-learning environment. Power Points and any other use of
technology is to be used as an enhancement, not the sole method of presentation.
H1: It is believed by the authors that when lesson plans are properly structured with the integration of technology
properly, presentation material can provoke a learning environment in which students’ can maintain
attention, focus, take notes taking, help relate to new concepts, and be engaged in the learning process.
H2: When the teacher incorporates technology in the classroom environment, students’ will be influenced to use
technology when presenting educational material as well.
H3: Students prefer to take quizzes at their own pace and are motivated to review textbook material prior to
attending class, when taking quizzes placed on the website of the textbook publisher.
METHOD
Subjects
Over 500 undergraduate and graduate university students from Monmouth and Washington State Universities
participated in the study for credit toward their general business courses. There were a roughly equivalent number of
students who took part in the technology enhanced classroom environments and process of data collection. All of
these undergraduates were in their junior or senior years.
Materials Used
The instructors used Power Points, some of which contained text, graphics, and video clips. In some
instances all three components were used on the same slide. The text at times asked a question, described a concept,
described the relationship between theory and practice, or reinforced a concept. The publisher of the assigned
textbook placed practice quizzes for each chapter in the text for student’s to use. These quizzes were graded and
provided comments for the student’s reinforcement.
Procedure
There were two groups and two surveys used. The group of 519 students consisted of graduate and
undergraduates who responded to a 13 question survey Exhibit 1. The second group of students were all
undergraduates who responded to a 9 question survey Exhibit 2.
The order of presentations of text, topics, and questions were counter balanced with discussions. The class
populations ranged from 25 to 45 students per class. Upon completion of the courses the students were asked to
complete an information sheet with the following questions:
Journal of College Teaching & Learning August 2006 Volume 3, Number 8
11
Exhibit 1: Graduate And Undergraduate Survey
Exhibit 2: Undergraduate Survey
Exhibit 3: Completed Graduate And Undergraduate Surveys
521 Respondents
Questions Responses
ANALYSIS OF EXHIBIT 3
The majority of the students replied that the technology helped them focus and in note taking. Technology
also enhances discussion and encourages students to interact with each other and the instructor because the concepts
being introduced are easier to comprehend. Most students, 95.2 %, do not prefer a lecture only method of instruction.
The students unanimously responded that the use of technology assists them when making presentations. In addition,
98.08 % of the respondents supported the use of technology while presenting concepts because it helps to maintain
interest. While a large number of students, 80% do not prefer taking quizzes in class rather than taking a written final
1. Has the technology helped you focus? Yes No
2. Does the technology help you in note taking? Yes No
3. Do concepts become clear through the use of technology? Yes No
4. Does the technology enhance discussion? Yes No
5. Do you prefer lecture only? Yes No
6. Does the use of technology assist you with your presentations? Yes No
7. Are presentations more interesting when technology is used? Yes No
8. Do you find taking practice quizzes on the web helpful? Yes No
9. Do you prefer taking quizzes in class? Yes No
10. Would you prefer to have a written exam? Yes No
11. I would rather complete the assigned quizzes and e-mail them? Yes No
12. Are concepts clear as a result of videos and Power Points used? Yes No
13. Have you learned in this class more than in other classes? Yes No
1. Has the technology helped you focus? Yes No
2. The technology helped me recording notes. Yes No
3. Concepts were easier to understand. Yes No
4. Did the video clips highlight the concepts? Yes No
5. Should the instructor continue to use technology? Yes No
6. Did the technology balance with discussion? Yes No
7. Did the method of instruction meet your expectations? Yes No
8. Did the publisher’s web-site assist you studying? Yes No
9. Did the instructor provide you with a better understanding of the management concepts Yes No
Yes % No %
1. Has the technology helped you focus? 505 96.9 16 3.1
2. Does the technology help you in note taking? 495 95 16 5
3. Do concepts become clear through the use of technology? 487 93.47 34 6.53
4. Does the technology enhance discussion? 465 89.25 56 10.75
5. Do you prefer lecture only? 25 4.8 496 95.2
6. Does the technology assist you with presentations? 521 100 0 0
7. Are presentations more interesting when technology is used? 511 98.08 10 1.92
8. Do you find taking practice quizzes on the web helpful? 316 63.33 183 36.67
9. Do you prefer taking quizzes in class? 98 19.1 415 80.9
10. Would you rather have a written exam? 65 12.55 453 87.45
11. I would rather complete the assignedquizzes and e-mail them. 410 80.55 99 19.45
12. Are concepts clear as a result of the videosand Power Points? 516 99.42 3 0.58
13. Have you learned in this class more thanin other classes? 519 99.81 1 0.19
Journal of College Teaching & Learning August 2006 Volume 3, Number 8
12
exam, 80.55 % prefer completing the assigned quizzes on the web and e-mailing them to the instructor. Concerning
the use of Power Points and videos, 99.81 % of the respondents indicated they learned more in this class, while one
student claimed additional learning did not take place.
Exhibit 4: Completed Undergraduate Surveys
120 respondents
Questions Responses
ANALYSIS OF EXHIBIT 4
Almost all the students indicated that the use of technology assisted them with note taking and helped them
focus on the material being presented. Students also indicated that concepts were easier to understand and videos
enhanced the learning process. Accordingly, all students suggested that the instructor should continue to use
technology and that the instructor’s use of technology did balance with discussion. They also point out that the method
of instruction did meet their expectations. However, less number of students feel that the web assisted them in study
and assignments. Lastly, all students are pleased to say that the instructor provided them with a better understanding
of management.
CONCLUSION
This study is the first step for further data collection where by the questions should incorporate likerts so a
valid statistical analysis can be conducted. In the next stage it has been determined to survey both graduate and
undergraduate students.
REFERENCES
1. Borich, Gary, (2000). Effective Teaching Methods, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, pp.8 -13.
2. Curchy, Christopher and Kyker, Keith, (1995). Presentation Equipment To Enhance Instruction, Media and
Methods, volume 32, pp.22-23.
3. Curchy, Christopher and Kyker, Keith, (1995). Lectures, Lessons and Presentations that Peak Interest:
Equipment that Paves the Way, Media & Methods, volume 31, p. 12.
4. Fitch, James, (2004). Student Feedback in the College Classroom: A Technology Solution, Educational
Technology Research and Development, volume 52, number 1, pp. 71-81.
5. Gelder, Tim, (2005). Teaching Critical Thinking: Some Lessons From Cognitive Science, College teaching,
volume 53, number 1, pp. 41-46.
6. Hickman, Lou Ella, (2004). The Sacrament of Confirmation Goes to the Movies, Washington, D.C.:
Momentum, volume 35, number 4, pp. 58-60.
7. Oberlander, Judith and Johnson, Carolyn, (2004). Using Technology to Support Problem-Based Learning,
Action in Teacher Education, volume 25, number 4, pp. 48-57.
8. Ponty, Merleau, (2002). Phenomenology of Perception, London and New York: Routledge Classics, ISBN 0-
415-27841-4, pp.30-35.
Yes % No %
1. Has the technology helped you focus? 120 100 0 0
2. The technology helped me in recording notes. 119 100 1 0.83
3. Concepts were easier to understand? 117 97.5 3 2.5
4. Did videos help highlight concepts? 119 99.17 1 0.83
5. Should the instructor continue using technology? 120 100 0 0
6. Did the technology balance with discussion? 120 100 0 0
7. Did the method of instruction meet your expectations? 120 100 0 0
8. Did the web assist you with study and assignments? 91 75.83 29 24.17
9. Did the instructor provide you with a better understanding of management? 120 100 0 0
Journal of College Teaching & Learning August 2006 Volume 3, Number 8
13
9. Scot, Tammy and Harding, Diane, (2004). Splicing Video Into the Writing Process, Learning and Leading
with Technology, volume 32, number 1,pp. 26-27, 29-31`.
10. Shutkin, David, (2004). Thinking of the Other: Constructivist Discourse and Cultural Difference in the Field
of Educational Technology, Journal of Educational Thought, volume 38, number 1, pp. 67-93.
11. Van Horn, Royal, (1998). Power Point 98: Review and Tutorial, Phi Delta Kappan, volume 80, number 2,
pp. 173-174.
12. Wise, Patricia, (2003). Environmental Management: Creating a Learning Ambiance, The Journal of
Continuing Education in Nursing, volume 34, number 5, pp. 199-200.
Journal of College Teaching & Learning August 2006 Volume 3, Number 8
14
NOTES
... In addition to increase the students interest could be done by communicate using instagram stories, colourful slide, pictures and videos. This result in line with Paul (2011) "Almost all the students indicated that the use of technology assisted them with note taking and helped them focus on the material being presented. Students also indicated that concepts were easier to understand and videos enhanced the learning process". ...
... This result in line with previous study "The majority of students answered that technology helps them focus and take notes. Technology also enhances discussion and encourages students to interact with each other and the instructor due to the concept introduced easier to understand" (Paul, 2011). ...
Article
Full-text available
The purpose of this study is to identify the experiences and challenges of teachers in using the blended learning method during the teaching and learning process. This study used a case study method with a qualitative approach. This case study was conducted through interview with 6 of respondents involves the group of secondary school teachers from Malaysia and Indonesia. The instrument used is open-ended questions. The collected data were analyzed using descriptive. The results showed that the blended learning environment was built with a combination of face-to-face and online sessions. This case study found common challenges that was faced by teachers are the students’ lack of devices and equipment. From the results, teachers explained how dissatisfied they were in order to deliver information towards their students. Teachers' experiences of engaging the students in a blended learning class by getting attention and students interest with fully applying technology. Practice with technology-mediated learning creates challenges that must be taken into account when planning and implementing integrated teaching and learning. The challenges that the teachers face in engaging the students in a blended learning class from 3 factors: First factor from environmental factors is lack of internet connection so that it hinders the blended learning process, second factors that come from students are lack of students' interest and student motivation, take a lot more time, students lazy during online class, students pay less attention and maintain consistency of participants in the class, and the last factor that comes from the teacher is unable to be assessed students task. However, it provides a good opportunity to enhance student learning using blended learning methods.
Article
First published in 1945, Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s monumental Phénoménologie de la perception signalled the arrival of a major new philosophical and intellectual voice in post-war Europe. Breaking with the prevailing picture of existentialism and phenomenology at the time, it has become one of the landmark works of twentieth-century thought. This new translation, the first for over fifty years, makes this classic work of philosophy available to a new generation of readers.
Article
Discussions relevant to pedagogy and instructional design often entail their impact upon the belief and cognitive systems of learners, knowledge transfer and meaningful change in efforts to organize, facilitate and evaluate learning activities in classroom contexts. Recently learning systems have undergone a demonstrable shift in focus from those based on directive approaches to constructivist concepts and practices as they evolve from activities comprising problem-based learning (PBL). Consistent with this pedagogical shift has been a shift in technology. Technological applications that are robust, interactive and self-directed are promoted. This study investigates PBL as a vehicle for change in which learners become active constructors of knowledge via group-based, collaborative endeavors. Additionally, the study illuminates the critical junctures at which PBL as a technological tool, impacts the beliefs of graduate students and ultimately their classroom practice.
Article
This article draws six key lessons from cognitive science for teachers of critical thinking. The lessons are: acquiring expertise in critical thinking is hard; practice in critical-thinking skills themselves enhances skills; the transfer of skills must be practiced; some theoretical knowledge is required; diagramming arguments (“argument mapping”) promotes skill; and students are prone to belief preservation. The article provides some guidelines for teaching practice in light of these lessons. Download from https://sites.google.com/site/timvangelder/publications-1/teaching-critical-thinking
Article
Technology in the university classrooms has made great strides in the area of presentation of materials. Ceiling-mounted projectors and media carts with projection capabilities have made the multimedia classroom presentation a routine event for much of the worl of higher education. Now there is technology that permits the instructor to solicit student responses during class via wireless keypads. This allows all students to respond simultaneously and the instructor to know the results immediately. This article reports the results of a pilot study on student reaction to a specific system (LearnStar). Students were uniformly positive in their appraisal of this technology as a teaching tool.
Effective Teaching Methods
  • Gary Borich
Borich, Gary, (2000). Effective Teaching Methods, New Jersey: Prentice Hall, pp.8 -13.
Presentation Equipment To Enhance Instruction
  • Christopher Curchy
  • Keith Kyker
Curchy, Christopher and Kyker, Keith, (1995). Presentation Equipment To Enhance Instruction, Media and Methods, volume 32, pp.22-23.
The Sacrament of Confirmation Goes to the Movies
  • Lou Hickman
  • Ella
Hickman, Lou Ella, (2004). The Sacrament of Confirmation Goes to the Movies, Washington, D.C.: Momentum, volume 35, number 4, pp. 58-60.