Should we have tech breaks in class to allow the addiction/distraction temporary free reign, as Rosen has suggested?

Plus side to brief tech breaks:

  • Students may be less tempted to check their phones if they know there will be a tech break.
  • Gives a break in their engagement with the class content, a bit of a rest that relieves the fatigue of concentration on the topic.
  • For those who become increasingly anxious when not allowed to check their phone, it relieves their anxiety.
  • Breaks of any kind allow information to be consolidated in memory so can enhance learning.

Down sides:

  • Any interruption in a person’s sustained attention leads to attentional ‘start-up costs”, where the class has to re-focus and remember where they had left off.
  • Having started to text or email or facebook, students might not want to stop when the break is over.
  • Tech breaks don’t seem to reduce the frequency of texting in class, according to some studies.

And then the instructor has to decide how often to do a tech break? every 10 minutes? halfway through the class?