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Date of Publication

Winter 2-19-2019

Document Type



Millennials or Generation Y are a highly diverse group of students and the first group to grow up with the Internet and cell phones. Their younger counterparts (Gen Z) are the first generation to grow up in the era of Smartphones. Both groups have always lived in a connected world and are used to constant technology immersion and distractions. This session, will focus on recent research regarding the effects of laptop and smartphone use on learning. While emphasis will be placed on research examining the use of electronic devices inside the classroom, how these devices affect cognitive resources outside of the classroom (i.e., when studying) will also be considered. Electronic devices are not the enemy – they are wonderfully useful tools that have enhanced our lives in myriad ways! However, like any tool, they are not ubiquitously helpful. Research can help us figure out when these tools are useful and when they are not. In addition, this research is so important, because one of the major findings is that we are bad at judging for ourselves whether these devices are distracting or disruptive to our learning. Dr. Denton will describe how she presents some of the key findings in this area to her students so that she and her students can make informed decisions about how best to deal with electronic devices. Resources and tips on how instructors can best communicate these findings to their students will be shared. Ashley Waggoner Denton is an Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream in the Psychology Department at the University of Toronto. She teaches Introductory Psychology, Social Psychology, Statistics, and the Social Psychology Laboratory. She received her PhD in Social Psychology from Indiana University. Her research examines questions that lie at the intersection of her two main passions - social psychology and pedagogy. For example, one current line of research examines the types of impressions that students form of professors based on course syllabi. Outside of the classroom and the laboratory, Prof Waggoner Denton facilitates numerous undergraduate initiatives within her department, including the Alumni Mentorship Program and Second-year Learning Community for psychology majors.

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