24/7 connectedness and its potential impact on today's physics students : Technology use, multitasking, and GenMe
There is no question that the digital age is upon us. For many of us, the trans-formation to the digital age has been gradual; and, most often, welcomed. In the classroom, we have developed many useful and innovative applications technolo-gy-based pedagogies. Outside of the classroom, we use routinely rely on tech-nology to communicate with our students. However, not all of us grew up with 24/7 access to information that the internet and today’s technologies provide. Perhaps the impact of technology on those of us that teach is a bit different from the impact on our students. Many of our students today are members of the mil-lennial generation, which is sometimes referred to as Generation Me (GenMe). Members of GenMe have literally grown up with technology and the instantane-ous availability of information right at their fingertips. Computers, smart phones, iPads, and other technologies offer their users immediate access to information. Might these technologies be seen as a significant distraction to whatever the task at hand might be? Could these distractions be to blame for the perception of many in GenMe that they must multitask in order to get everything done? Might instant access to information be casting a cloud on student learning? If so, does this cloud have a silver lining? This paper addresses these and other questions through the use of a survey given to students in a second-level physics course in spring 2016. Results reveal that nearly all students feel the need to maintain this 24/7 connection using their smart phones. The impact that this level of connect-edness may have on our students will be discussed.