Tuesday, November 1, 2016

The following is a reprint from the website Education for Excellence

Drugs and Learning. NOT a Happy Relationship

Doing drugs is an accepted way of life for many high school students. A weed-weekend is often as common as traditional weekend of snowboarding or going to visit Aunt Mary used to be.
Hearing students talk about a “420-Friendly” party with the same nonchalance as if it were a fifteenth birthday party is rather disconcerting, and even quite scary. Their misconceptions about the powerful influence that the psychological or physical dependence on drugs reaffirms the ignorance they have about the results of their actions.
As a classroom teacher in five decades, there are some things that don’t change.
Often I’ve had the same students for both a morning and an afternoon class. It’s amazing, but not surprising, the obvious change in attitudes and actions for those students between the early and late classes, especially if lunch had a joint for dessert rather than a piece of Mom’s apple pie.
What’s almost laughable (if it weren’t so serious) is that they think nobody can tell the difference.
Though I haven’t done formal research, it’s intuitively obvious that attention spans decrease, talkativeness either increases or decreases depending on the drug of choice, and physical appearance often sends the signal of a happy-time lunch.
Simply stated, learning efficiency and retention levels both get smacked right in the head. As a result, grades go down, motivation decreases… but interestingly, the drugs frequently produce a “who cares” attitude.
But Ah, Ha!
There’s an equally insidious killer of quality even more rampant in our schools, but with even more disastrous results when it comes to learning.

Cell phones and the death of critical thinking.

I call them EED’s, those terrible Electronic Entertainment Devices. Terrible, yet so amazingly enjoyable.
Cell phones, mp3 players, video players and video games all hold the double-edged sword of great function yet disabling distraction.
When I tell my students, “I’m glad I’m not you.” they think I’m either mean or kidding. When I explain how hard it would have been for me to pay attention in high school if all those electronic devices had been available, they understand.
They understand, they agree, and they stay enjoyably on the path of multitasking their way to mediocrity.
Some suggestions for curtailing the use of these EED’s are as follows.
  • Confiscate the offending device. The kid gets it back only on eBay.
  • Call the parent on the phone and tell them to expect it in the mail… postage due.
  • Clip the earphone wires with your needle nose pliers.
  • Trade your old boom-box for the new iPod.
  • Put the EED in storage until the technology is no longer state-of-the-art.
Oh, wait, I forgot. We live in this age of “student rights” and to inflict any sort of natural or severe consequence would initiate some form of action from a group that is there to protect almost any civil liberty.
Finally, the challenge isn’t necessarily how do we get rid of these devices, but how to we minimize their distraction and turn their use into a positive learning event.
Any suggestions?


  1. Drugs are bad, there's no doubt about that. And by no means do I support drug use. As a matter of fact, I've spent the last three years cleaning up the wreckage of my passed drug use and alcoholism.
    Now, I know that one can find statistics to prove whatever side of an argument one might choose to support. But awareness is definitely a push in the right direction: statistics prove that.
    Lets not sugar coat it anymore. when someone dies from liver failure due to alcoholism, why do most doctors put "liver failure" as the cause of death--not Alcoholism? Liver failure is simply an affect of a much larger problem.
    I can totally relate to what the author is saying about kids and 420--just replace weed with alcohol for my experience--which is much more destructive in and of itself. when I was caught on campus drinking--in hind sight--this was a cry for help... the onset of a terminal disease. granted, more has been discovered in the field of mental health in the past decade then what was known when I was embarking down the road of pitiful and incomprehensible demoralization, but instead of being offered educational awareness or counseling, I was frowned at and expelled... on the flip side of that, who's to say that had they offered me help I would have taken it at that time--I wasn't anywhere near my bottom at that point in my life: I had my whole life ahead of me.
    The cliché, "you can take a horse to the water, but you can't make him drink" might have well applied in this situation. What it finally boils down to is one simple thing: faith. even in my addiction my needs were still met; God carried me through those hard times much like the "footprints" poem. I can't harbor any resentments towards the powers to be at this educational institution because everything happened exactly as it should--according to God's plan.

  2. When I was in high school, weed was definitely something most kids smoked on a daily basis. Granted, I am from Santa Cruz, Ca which is one of the most hippy places in California. Kids would show up to school at 8 in the morning already high, and basically zone out in all of their classes until lunch when they could sneak off and get high again. Those kids, combined with the other half of the class sneaking texts on their phone from the front pocket of their backpacks, created an entire classroom of space cadets.

    I am going to be a teacher someday, and I am trying to put myself in the shoes of a high school educator and what I would do when my students showed up high to class. I could try to engage them, but they probably won't care. In fact, they may not even care if they were not high, because high school kids sometimes have the "who cares" attitude no matter what! Though there is only so much we teachers can do about the choices our students make at home, we do have some control over their distracting electronic devices. I would create my lessons in a way that was engaging, interactive with one another, and fast pace so that the students would not have very much "bored" time to be distracted by their cell phones. Parts of each lesson would allow them to look things up on their phones/computers for educational purposes, and to add a technological piece to the lesson. If the student isn't using their device for that purpose, they must put it in a basket and collect it at the end of the period.
    Hopefully, I will not have to deal with this part much considering I will be teaching elementary school, but who knows; within the next few years I bet at least half of all third graders will have iPhones.

    1. I remember receiving my first phone in the fourth grade. It was crazy because I had waited so long for one and had always played with my parents old flip phones and thought I was so cool. Prior to this I would spend hours on the landline with my friends. I knew their home phone numbers and would call all the time, asking their parents for permission to speak to them. Once I got my own phone, and everyone around me did, communication drastically changed. At first it was calling, then it became texting, then social media was introduced and it feels like every year there is a new added feature or device. With ipads, lapotops, smartphones, it's overwhelming to keep up with everything going on. It's extremely distracting and there are so many days that I wish no one had any form of electronic device. However, it is a reality now and the question of how to make them useful is a very valid one.
      I think once we embrace that these devices are our new reality, we can move forward in choosing to use them as a benefit rather than demonize them. I think the best answer to this is to create an environment where phones and devices are not able to work, without internet or reception, we can create a sacred space that allows students to not even have the option to be distracted. This can be put in place by the school infrastructure rather than the teacher so the teacher is not seen as the "bad guy". As a student I would hate this at first but once i realized that I would truly benefit from the lack of distraction, I would ultimately thank whoever put this in place.

    2. Maddy,
      I completely agree with your thoughts! I think being an educator we have to be able to teach our students right from wrong. It is interesting to try and put yourself in the shoes of high school teacher to be able to know what your students are doing and being aware of your classroom. I also had a similar experience to you back in high school. Many of the students in my high school found it cool or the hip thing to smoke weed, and I think this was a trend because of peer pressure for those students to fit in. In reality this ends up hurting them, where these students struggled in their academics and other aspects of their high school time.
      Regarding electronic devices, as a future teacher I believe these are distractions and they will not be allowed in my classroom. When a student is in class they should be focusing on their subject matter and their work. Taking them away for a few hours out of the day, could help them become less reliant on their electronic devices.

  3. I think it is really interesting to see that in today's day and age, we have kids in school talking and discussing drugs earlier and earlier in age. I agree with the article in how drugs, if students are taking them, can effect their lifestyle and their academics. I think now a days it a a fad or a cool thing if kids do drugs because of many factors, like the media, television shows, movies, etc. The social and peer pressure that kids face with drugs is that they are exposed to it consistently. Not saying this is right, nor do I condone the use of drugs. I think kids need to be able to stand up for themselves and be able to resist temptations and think about the bigger picture, that drugs are not good physically or mentally.
    The idea with cellphones, there are many pros and cons regarding technology and technological advances. I think that technology we rely on it too much and we are technologically dependent. We have become reliant by our devices to the point where we feel the need to check our devices every few seconds. I think it is important to have a healthy balance between our daily lives and our use of our technological devices.

    1. Great post Alexandra,
      I agree with you than more and more people are being introduced to drugs. Weed is one of the main drugs that kids get started in because they think it is harmless or it is just something that they can use too relax. Unfortunately, they are completely encouraged by society around them that weed is ok to use. Some say that because weed has been legalized in California, it will have a major negative effect on our society. Contrary to this belief, I believe that this drug is actually already been normalized in our society. Middle schoolers, high schoolers, and many other kids in California have been exposed to this drug and they have become numb to the fact that it is actually BAD. Not many years ago, cigarettes were something that were being normalized in the younger community. Lately cigarettes have become more and more expensive due to taxes and this has actually helped in reducing the amount of cigarrettes being smoked! I believe that the recent legalization of marijuana in California is actually a good thing. I think this will help us as a state to put high taxes on the purchasing of weed as well as regulate the amount of weed being used. This could have a positive effect in helping to denormalize the drug!

  4. I completely agree, and I would go to say that "recreational" drugs and EED's are actually somewhat robbing people of their lives that they could be enjoying so much more. In Highschool Marijuana is dumbed down so that many people think that it is "no big deal" to get high. I think too often my generation and even older generations can make an excuse that the drug "helps them relax". By participating in these drugs, people are actually robbing themselves of time that they could be doing active things or being productive, but instead they choose to dull their senses and rely on a high to enjoy themselves.
    Cell phones, laptops, computers, and even television is another way that people in today's day and age are robbing themselves of what it really means to live. The world of technology has done an excellent job at providing consumers with a fast, easy, and accessible way to learn new things, stay connected, and even find answers to their questions. Unfortunately, these technological devices have also created their own fantasy worlds that people too often get caught up in. These worlds are far from reality but many people can find themselves so sucked into their tech that they miss out on many exciting adventures and real life experiences that they could be having if they had been willing to put their technology down.

    1. Nathan,
      I enjoyed reading your post! I agree that drugs do rob people of their lives and it also effects their academics as well. I think weed and drugs are a fad that people think are cool, also they could be used by people in circumstances where they feel peer pressured. I know I saw this a lot when I was in high school because kids would feel the need to fit in so by peer pressure they would do drugs. This isn't right because they should feel the need to want to succeed in life and in their education but they were hurting all aspects of their life.
      In response to electronic devices, people have become so reliant on their devices. Like for myself, I can't remember the last time I had to turn in math homework that was on paper. We have obsessively become so dependent on our social media and technology its truly sad. We walk around everywhere tuned out of the world and miss all the great people and things that pass us by because we are so in tune with our technological devices.

    2. Nate,
      I was thinking something so similar along those exact lines the other day. Even though we have an incredible device that can stimulate growth both individually and collectively, it can just as easily be used to dull our senses, shorten our attention spans and hinder our purpose in life. Our cell phone is an incredibly powerful tool which can be used for much good, but I would even argue that for myself, it is often not used for much more than simple entertainment. This is why we often see young adults our age deleting their social medias and quitting the use of certain apps, not because they are boring but rather because they cannot limit the amount of time they spend on them. I do this from time to time. I am under the impression that learning how to think, really just means learning how to exercise some control over how and what we think about.

      All that to say, I wish I knew how to use my technology for a good purpose 100% of the time. But I don't. And I often wish I had grown up in an era free of my phone so that I could spend more time reading and using my free time more wisely.

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  6. Comparing social media to an illegal drug is crazy but not necessarily incorrect. Our society now-a-days is addicted to social media/technology with no understanding of their addiction. I can relate. Although i have never struggled with the temptation or addiction to a real drug. I am very much addicted/consumed with social media. I cannot go 30 minutes of studying without making sure I am up to date with social media.

    currently I just took a break from writing this blog to check social media. Which is a true problem. Not only does it stop your thought process for your homework or paper, but it also consumes your time and energy.

    Social media is also a gateway for FOMO and other horrible thoughts to enter someones brain. Which can give them a "high" or a "low" from checking it.

    However, technology is so beneficial to our society. It makes living easier and time with people quicker to reach. Without it I would not know the people I know today, and I would not be able to continue relationships.

    I do see the negatives in social media, but I also see too many positives to delete it. As the consumer, I need to be wise and attentive to how much time I am spending on it in order to plan my days accordingly.

  7. I got my first cell phone in 7th grade and didn't have an iphone until sophomore year of high school. I honestly wasn't on my phone very much in middle school and the first half of high school because I was crazy busy & it was quite honestly a hunk of junk-- I was so annoyed at all my friends texting me from their iphones (because they would come in as individual texts, not in any sort of chain/ imessage format). As I went through high school, however, I began experiencing the technological takeover. The paper to electronic-everything switch began to take place and sophomore year my school gave every student their own laptop. Our computer labs turned into Mac labs and more and more homework was due online. For so long I hated everything about this. I loved paper. It was also frustrating because some teachers would be all paper everything, and some would try so desperately to be all electronic. It was a transitional period in our society (or at least at my high school in Pewaukee, Wisconsin).

    I visited my high school a year after I graduated and in that short period of time since I graduated, so much had changed. Math classes were being held in computer labs and younger teachers were replacing teachers that had been there for decades. The younger kids entering middle school and high school all had phones and their own computers, and everything seemed very natural to them.

    Now, there are 3-year-old's with cell phones/ ipads. That's just the norm now and there really isn't much we can do about it unfortunately. Technology is just going to keep advancing.

    These kids that are in high school now have been raised with phones in their hands, and I'm sure they've seen mom and dad mimic this behavior as well. It's how they're conditioned, which is why it's so hard to get them off their phones in class. At my high school, if you got caught on your phone, some teachers would collect it and have you pick it up after class, and some teachers would just call you out.

    Unfortunately, I think we're too far gone to try and reform these kids and their technology. (Actually not just kids but everybody). Taking away their phones in class will ensure they pay better attention, but they're still going to be glued to it at home at the dinner table and in the hallway between classes.

    All we can do is spread more awareness and encourage kids to get out there and enjoy life. That's why things like fitbit are so cool, because that's actually a positive form of technology that is transforming lives. Hopefully one of these days, one of those kids gets their nose so deep into the depths of their cell phone that they find the cure for cancer. Until that day...

  8. When I was in junior high a boy came up to me, knowing I was Christian, to hear my opinion on the topic of weed.

    Boy: Do you believe that God created weed?
    Me: Sure, I guess.
    Boy: So would you smoke it?
    Me: No!
    Boy: Why not?
    Me: Because it’s bad for you…
    Boy: HA! (to his buddy) Jordyn thinks weed is bad for you!

    I was embarrassed at the time, not really knowing much about marijuana as a thirteen-year-old. But I still stand by my opinion that weed is bad for you. Although the physical effects of marijuana use may not be extreme, I agree with you Professor Hitchcock, that it negatively impacts learning and attention span. Weed is a gateway drug and an acceptance of this drug may lead to worse decisions in the future. Ultimately, people become dependent on weed to feel good or to escape the pressures of life and the high becomes their God. Only God can truly satisfy forever.

    1. Jordyn, I completely agree! I think that it is a very sad thing that California has legalized the recreational use of marijuana, although hopefully some good will come of this legislation. Hopefully the government can get some of the money that they will be taxing and they can put that money towards helping people get off of drugs or getting back on their feet. I know that marijuana allows for a decrease in motivation and focus while in the classroom. I believe that, yes God created it, and yes, He saw that it was good. However, I don't think that he meant for it to be abused the way that it is being abused now. I think there are appropriate and medically beneficial applications for this drug but that it should not be used for recreational use in order to feel good about ones self.

    2. The legalization of weed is a sad step backwards in my opinion. However, most of the country sees this is as a progressive step forward. The glum reality is that our country has a progressive mindset that all change is good change. They seek to defy authority because of a feeling of entitlement that they have. This new phenomenon of extreme individualism is that each person has a right to their own opinions and actions, but when your views do not line up with theirs, your views are wrong. It is an extremely hypocritical mindset, but it is impossible to explain that to them without being a bigot. For example, your story of being made fun of for not liking weed shows this perfectly. You were made fun of simply because you disagreed with a popular opinion. Unfortunately, popular opinion is run by the majority, and the majority is becoming increasingly more dumb as time goes on. There is a deterioration of morals and ideals in America that will eventually bring this great country to its knees.

  9. Weed is legal in Oregon, which has proven to be very interesting. Our economy is doing a lot better due to the fact that the money that used to go to drug lords selling illegally, is now going straight back into our economy. However, there are also some major setbacks to the drug. Some of my best friends smoke all the time and they believe that they can only function if they maintain a proper high. That is the point to where weed becomes dangerous. I think that in moderation, weed is fine. If you smoke it or consume it responsibly and of age then it is not harmful. Of course you need to take in to consideration someone's tolerance to addictive substances. Sugar is even more addicting than weed and is one of the most harmful things you can put in your body in excess. Excessive sugar causes heart disease, morphs your brain to function differently, and causes obesity. No, I am not saying that weed is acceptable for underage users, school, and learning but I am saying that sugar and sodas also have harmful effects and are not discussed in a negative manor like weed is.

    I was babysitting a 2 year old and she runs and she started crying and screaming until I gave her the iPad because at age of 2, everyone needs one!! She proceeded to start playing games on the phone but at that time, she still was not talking fully. It blows my mind how children that young are so technologically capable. I think that screen time should be enforced at a young age to properly train them to not rely on electronics for everything.

    1. Emma, reading your post was very interesting. I could not agree more that there are definitely more addictive substances than just weed in the our society. Today, our culture is a very addictive culture that thrives off of finding new things to adapt and addict to. Its so sad to see the USA as we become addicted to sugar and the effects that is having on families and teenagers lifestyles. This needs to me taken into action.

      Electronics are growing so quickly and your story is so true. children these days are quick to addict to technology. it is causing them to have short tempers and very little patience. that is not something we want for our future society, and something we need to take into consideration.

    2. Bailey, great post!
      I agree with you that America today is becoming an extremely addictive society! Unfortunately our nation is turning into one in which people think that they should get what they want, when they want it. They believe that it is their right to have whatever they want. I believe that this idea of I get what I want is what people are becoming addicted too. Drugs, junk food and even electronics are just tools that people are now using to feed their addictions. Rather than work hard for the things they want like success or a good family, people use temporary things to satisfy their wants and their needs in the short term. Gone are the days that people have the ability to be patient and wait for the things that they want.
      I think that this unfortunate addiction is going to have serious consequences on our society. I believe that people are going to run into a rude awakening when they realize that life is not always fair and sometimes we are forced to wait for the things that we want. Sometimes we need to work hard for those things that we want and I believe that the sooner people come to that realization, the better.

  10. As cell phone use has gotten to an all-time high, I have definitely noticed a decrease in critical thinking skills. People are able to ask Siri a question and have an answer in a matter of seconds, even if this question is something they could figure out on their own. There is no need for critical thinking when we have access to resources that do the thinking for us. Although this sounds like a negative thing, I think it can easily be turned into a positive learning event. When these devices are used to dig deeper into information we already know, rather than looking up information we should know but don’t want to put the effort in to think about, this is a positive experience. If we reduce the use of these devices, the more positive the experiences these will be.

    1. Hi Makenna, I agree with you in your response to noticing positive and negative implications of technology, especially phones. Phones act like a drug in the way that they steal attention from students. They cut down attention span, real human interaction, and desire for authentic learning in many ways. They have become an outlet for people who do not want to interact with what is happening right in front of them. Though you make a great point that this is only one side of the picture. Phones and rising tech have so many great qualities and opportunities. There is a huge spectrum spanning over the pros and cons of technology and how we use it. It is important moving forward to find a middle ground possible. This is hard because, as pointed out in the initial blog post, this has been happening for years in different capacities. But let's move forward with grace whatever wisdom we can and do the best we can.

  11. When I was in high school I knew a lot of kids who smoked weed, many of them I was friends with. Many of them would come to school high, get high at lunch, or skip class to get high. Throughout high school I knew many kids in my grade who were expelled or left the school due to failing a drug test after being suspected of smoking weed. Although I know a lot of people who smoke weed and are just as productive as people who do not but I do believe that smoking weed, especially a large amount can definitely affect one’s ability to learn. I also have many friends who have become way too dependent on weed, which I believe affects many aspects of their lives including learning.

    Cell phones also affect one’s ability to learn. In high school everyone, myself included had their phones under their desks or behind their books texting. Many of the social media sites, such as instagram and snapchat were not as popular among my friends and I at that point so we were mainly just texting throughout class. But now there are so many more social media sites that we have access to on our cell phones, which creates another distraction affecting one’s learning. I know many argue that they are good at multi-tasking, but I do not believe that anyone can truly learn whatever they are supposed to be learning, while being glued to their phones the entire time.

    As a future teacher this is definitely something I need to be mindful of. Hopefully kids smoking weed and texting in class won’t be something I need to worry about since I want to teach lower elementary.

  12. I do not believe that technology is a big bad scary monster we need to get rid of. Just because something is new doesn't mean it is bad. The new generation is a technological one and there is no dumbing down that comes with it. This new generation is highly inteligent and they will be able to advance us far into the future with all of the new tech skills they are learning. Each generation has a different way of growing up and just because its not the way we grew up doesnt mean its wrong or they are dumb. This new generation is highly inteligent and they will never live in an era that doesn't have technology so why are we attempting to take that away in their learning or why are we attempting to punish them because of what they enjoy. Sure they shouldn't texting in class and they could benefit putting their phones away in class but there is nothing wrong with using technology the way that they do. And yes of course we live in an age of "students rights" and we should aways live in that age no matter what. And none of the punishments you listed are natuaral consequence and most are actually illegal so of course action would be taken against you. So clearly these are not punishments we should ever make or even think about making.

  13. I received my first cell phone when I entered my freshman year of high school. It wasn't necessarily for recreation or rather to find meaningless enjoyment with my free time. Quite the contrary, it was more of a right of passage from my parents—used so that I could call them in case of emergencies or text my basketball coach asking him for tips about how I could better hedge a screen on a pick and roll. The cell phone was for practical use, not leisure.
    Gone are those days. 2 years later, I got an iphone and with it came wasted hours on social media, increasingly shorter attention spans and lack of social engagement. I sympathize with your role as a teacher, professor Hitchcock, and though I do not understand the dilemma you have to "put up with" in both college and high school classes, I do understand that there is an extreme chasm that must be addressed with teacher and student as it relates to a classroom conducive for high learning.
    As a high school student we were encouraged to accept everyone's personal beliefs as that was supposed to create an atmosphere of diversity. However this became diluted as students dug their heads in their phones and smoked a joint between classes. What was once 'virtuous' ideal to encourage students to learn from each other's rhetoric and has been boiled down simply tolerating it. This is largely because young students lack the attention and therefore lack the critical thinking skills to peacefully dispute a peers beliefs.

    This, I conclude can be seen in our recent election process. No matter what side of the aisle one stands on, our political climate has changed. People take to social media to conjure up some catchy phrase or sardonic remark about taking the high road, spreading love instead of hate or for any other number of reasons. However, this is merely an avenue for lack of good debate. Many of us simply voted based on political expediency, or rather voted so as not to see the other take office. But what we have so greatly neglected to see is that we actually didn't vote for just the presidency. We also voted on our senate, our local county chairs, and so many ballot measures that went under the radar. One of which that I think was passed in California was the acceptance of recreational marijuana usage.

    This to me, lacks some serious forethought. In legalizing this, we have made it so that our children's generation will be raised in a climate where marijuana accessible and legal (to some crowds). However, this I posit is not the real problem. The real issue is that, in legalizing its use, we are sending a clear message to youth that it is no longer morally reprehensible. Something that cannot be taught by parents, but rather is signified through the culture around us.

    I think that the real problem facing Americans is not how we get through each election or season of good or bad times. We have shown collectively that we are incredibly resilient and have the potential to persevere through times. The real test is in how we can better prepare ourselves for future generations. We need to prove our work ethic, our drive and our wit. Cell phones and marijuana are just the start of shortening attention spans. Although we do not know what will come next, we can certainly discipline our critical thinking so that we are willing and able to thrive with what comes next.

  14. I think you are correct in your statements on these "EED." Technology, for me, has always been something that I do not understand. I am bad at using my phone and I am perfectly content using an 8-10 year old computer. However, as I sit here and type this response on my MacBook, I realize how dependent we as humans have become on technology. If we didn't have lighters, I wonder how many people would be able to start a fire? If we didn't have cars, how many people would be willing or even able to walk to school or work? If we didn't have television programs and computer games providing us with formative educations, how many of us would be illiterate?
    Technology has brought us so incredibly far, and I am so thankful that we have access to such ridiculous amounts of information. However, from my own personal experience of owning an iPhone during high school, I can absolutely say that technology is harmful to education. In classes where my teachers and a zero tolerance policy for phones, I was able to fully engage the material in a way that I was unable to do in my other classes because I was constantly checking my texts or playing games. Technology can be a very beneficial tool in our education. but it can also leave us incredibly disengaged and handicapped. I know some schools place blockers on their wifi to keep students and staff away from potentially distracting sites or apps, but there are always going to be ways around that. At the moment, I don't know if there is a perfect solution for ensuring that EEDs are being used only for educational purposes, but maybe in the future, someone will be able to solve this mystery.

    1. As I read the original blogpost my main thoughts fell on the drug use aspect, not really putting technology on the same level in my mind. However, after reading your response, Jayden, I realize how equally distracting they can be. One of my professors asked me last week after class how he could engage his class more. I had to tell him honestly that technology is extremely distracting and students feel they do not have to pay attention when they have their laptops in front of them. I suggested that he integrate the use of the laptops into his lectures so that they are using the technology for a good purpose. It made me sad that he felt that none of his students cared enough to pay attention. So, not only can technology affect your own learning, it might also affect those teaching.

    2. Technology has brought us so far in the realm of science, as you mention, but it is not without its drawbacks. The EEDs are such a distraction to every day life that we do not even realize it sometimes. For example, bluetooth integration into automobiles is a wonderful invention. It allows us a more safe way to talk on the phone, play music, and interact with our devices while driving. However, in this ease of use there is a negative effect as well. My pastor recently challenged the congregation to take a 30 minute drive and keep the music off and the windows down. He wanted us to see that we were not okay with silence. EEDs fill up the empty space with mindless distractions. It can keep us from our peers, but it can also keep us from God. Electronics in moderation are extremely useful, the danger comes in overuse.

  15. Professor Hitchcock,

    What an interesting post! While I realize that the use of marijuana is ever present, especially now that it is legal, I wanted to focus on what you said about electronic devices.

    I am currently writing a reflection on areas to improve on in my life and I wrote about my listening skills. I have to be honest that I am terrible when it comes to multitasking. I frequently find myself checking e-mails on my phone while people are talking to me or searching on my computer during class time. I can see that I am only half-listening but I cannot stop.

    I love the technology that we have. But I can't help and think if I like it because I am used to it. I watch my both of my brothers lose social skills because they are constantly on their screens. I was lucky to spend my childhood being creative and playing outside. But what is to come of the current kids? Will technology reduce communication skills amongst people?

    Technology is good in so many ways but I fear that it will eventually steer us into a socially inept society where the only form of communication we have it via test and e-mail.

  16. Professor Hitchcock,

    What a controversial & current topic to discuss in this post. Relating the "weed" or drug discussion, it is extremely relevant especially now that Prop 64 (legalizing recreational marijuana use) has currently passed in California. I have seen this "who cares" attitude that you discussed when students would "check out" in their academics. Many students would smoke in the morning before school everyday. Most of them had a "who cares" attitude. They did not enjoy school or academics, so for them, it was a way to bear it less painfully. It is interesting that you discuss how students seem to think nobody can notice, when really everyone can. But, something that can be frustrating is that the school does nothing about this. The students end up damaging themselves physically, mentally, and academically and do not receive consequences for it. I believe there needs to be some sort of accountability for this, especially that it is legal for 18 year olds, who are still in high school.

    You introduced another interesting topic of technology and how it could be the sole reason for the death of critical thinking. Technology is such a controversial topic because of its many benefits. in addition to those benefits, there are also cons. Technology makes things easier for children, causing them to not think critically for themselves at times. I think that there has been a lot of research done on technology and its affect on children. This should be analyzed and the studies that show specific technology as a benefit should be used and others that cause a deficit removed. I do not believe that it needs to be cut out entirely because of its many benefits. Thanks for sharing!

  17. Professor,
    First off I think the dicussion you are encouraging with the concept of drugs in our society today, especially among teens is something that needs to be talked about more. So many teens are involved in smoking weed but no one is talking about it. I think by ignoring we are exacerbating the issue by making it something that is supposed to be out of reach. Especially now with the legalization of marijuana, it is only going to get worse. I think we need to start a dialogue with students that eliminates the condemnation and fear factor supplied by drug or deputy sheriff programs like DARE. Instead, we need to sit down with students, create relationships and outlets that they can work through what they need to so that they don't have to resort to smoking weed. When we provide that space, we create a dynamic of trust and empowerment that students can take advantage of. It would be naive to say that this will fix the issue completely, especially because some students do it just for fun, not trying to escape or eliminate emotions. However, this is one step towards creating an environment at schools where students want to learn and be present, rather than showing up high after lunch in order to get through the day.

  18. As much as the EEDs and drug usage are a problem in our modern society, there is very little that can be done. For something to actually change for these problems you would have to change the general mindset of all of society. As technology and thoughts change over time, so too do the thoughts of society as a whole. We can see this in our laws and in our technology. Progressively, our laws have come to allow more and more usage of previously illegal drugs such as marijuana in California. As the mindset of the country shifts, our laws react and change accordingly. The same goes for technology, as our technology gets more immersive, people get more drawn in to the phenomenon. People who were previously against technology now own incredible devices such as smart phones or even smart cars, not the actual Smart Car as it seems to me to be a quite dumb purchase. Everything is getting smarter as our technological capabilities increase, and people are becoming more and more accepting of it. Kids are being brought up with applications on tablets such as the iPad instead of books and toys. This used to be seen as a bad thing, but as it becomes more widely accepted, there are less people speaking out against it. Instead of thinking that society is worse off and needs to go back to how it was before all these advances, we should each take a personal stance. This is a chance for each person to individually gauge what is the right amount of electronic infiltration into one’s life.
    In college, each person is paying for their education and should therefore handle themselves accordingly. This goes for both drug usage and EEDs. You get what you put into it out of your education. As someone who is paying for my own education, I prefer to stay away from drugs, for other reasons as well, and EEDs. However, I think the same should go for school before college as well. If a child does not want to pay attention in class, they should be warned of the consequences of not having an education warrants, but should be allowed to make that informed choice on their own. I do not believe that it is possible in our current extremely liberal, progressive society to change how society as a whole thinks about EEDs, but I do think we, as individuals, can separate ourselves from the pack and be distinguished and respectful with our usage

  19. We live in a different world. I'm not the biggest fan of drug use, but I do know many people who do use drugs. As i try not to judge I realize how different thw world is from what I thought it was in my younger years.
    We live in a society that survives on a rebellious lifestyle and the notion of "being different". The constant battle of looking, feeling, acting or living different fuels the millennium movement today. In terms of drug use, weed is very looked down upon because of its sluggish effects (which i agree with). But, many don't look on the other side of drug use. The drug adderall. A simple pill, which many students use to finish projects or presentations in a short amount of time seems to be okay. But I'd also argue that adderall is a competitive advantage that seems to be ignored. There are medical reasons adderall is appropriate. Such as helping those with ADD or ADHD focus better on things they may need help with. I just think drugs have to be monitored

    On the subject on cell phones. I agree on the statement that it is destroying critical thinking. In my own experience, I feel my ability to critically think without relying on my phone is hard to do. I realize that I rely tto much on my phone or technology for answers. I realize my skills in reality(social skills, physical skills, and emotional skills) all have suffered while my abilities in technology have grown. I think we need more of those skills in reality to grow as human beings. I think limiting the use of cell phones can impact how we think, talk, and act. The only way to do this is realize the problem and actually try to fix it.

  20. On the topic of drugs, it is tough to talk about. On one hand, people use it recreationally and others use it for pleasure. With the proposition being passed making marijuana legal in California, this can be both negative and positive. On one side, it can create revenue in the legal selling of it. However, this only allows more people access to it even if you are underage because the people who can legally purchase it can buy it and sell it to underage minors just as alcohol is. What this can do to a student in the classroom can definitely impair them from learning. It can cause distractions to not only them but to their peers. If it is legal, it is hard to take action against, but of it is illegal it is a little easier to handle.

    On the matter of technology, it is a huge distraction for students. including myself, technology has become a norm. The newest updates are always on the rise and the excitement for these things are biggest than anything. It makes sense for educators to disapprove of this technology in the classroom especially if it diminishes their ability to think critically. The dependence that students have on technology is a little frightening because it is so easy to get wrapped up in it and not want to get out of it.

  21. Professor Hitchcock,

    It is interesting to see how you can draw parallels from both the consumption of weed/drugs and exposure to electronics. I sometimes wonder if people who resort to marijuana are cognizant of what kind of impact it may have on them post the high that they crave and long for. People innately have different priorities in life and will resort to different outlets or even substances to alleviate stress. I do not think that most people nowadays are mindfully aware of the ramifications of marijuana, but rather are more in tune with the temporary “benefits” as it is constantly promoted throughout the course of our culture.

    It is frightening to see how much our culture is influenced by technology and how we have taken it to extreme levels. Technology is also shaping the way younger generation function and how dependent they are on it. I did not receive my first iPhone until I was a junior in high school. From then and until now, I have seen see how rapidly technology has consumed so many of our lives. Kids I babysit, as young as 2 years old, are technologically savvy and already know how to navigate iPhones and iPads. Kids in elementary school are obsessed with technology and their focus, retention, and motivation have been significantly impacted because of it. As a future teacher, I have to be readily aware of the common influences in my students’ lives. I would mindfully incorporate technology in the classroom and promote it in a different light. It is important that they are aware of the resources around them and how they can benefit from them. I have been learning unique ways on how to incorporate technology in the classroom and even in physical education. If we use something that children are interested in and potentially shift their focus and perspective on it, we can hopefully make a benefit impact in their lives.

  22. Professor Hitchcock,

    This was so interesting! It was intriguing to me how you related the two: weed and cell phones. Two very different things, but both equally as harmful.

    I can't image what you have seen in five decades of teaching. I can only speech for what I have seen in the last 16 years of schooling. When I was in elementary and even junior high, smoking weed was not a thing at all. If it did happen, you rarely saw or heard about it. However, it became the next best thing to do in high school. There was even a group referenced to as "the stoner group," and everyone knew which boys you were talking about when you said that. However, I rarely saw it happen on campus or between lunches. At my high school, it was an after school thing at the local skate park.

    To combat this problem, there should be a no tolerance policy. If a teacher such as yourself suspects a student to have gotten high between class periods, something should be done about it. It should not even be close to acceptable in grade school.

    Now, as far as the problem of EED's goes, you are very, very right. I am 100% guilty of unhealthy attachment to my iphone and even using it during class times. The scary thing is that I KNOW it is unhealthy and that I should focus my time on learning during class, but sometimes it's too hard to NOT look at it. Technology has become addicting. A couple weeks ago, my phone broke so I did not have one for a week and a half. I was reliant on my computer to communicate with family, friends, and people at work. That is when I realized how much I rely on my cell phone. It might not be very healthy, but it definitely is efficient. My boss realized that too when she tried to get a hold of me.

    To combat this problem in this classroom, I think there should be no tolerance just like marijuana. A class "three strikes" method might be effective. Maybe students could even drop their mobile devices into a box at the back of class right when they walk in.

    Both are issues that we need to be mindful of, as they will most likely not be decreasing any time soon.

    1. Emily,

      Very good points! I definitely know where you are coming from when you were talking about your dependence on your cell phone. I never truly realized how attached to it I am until I went on two mission trips out of the country. Each trip was a week long and we couldn't have our cell phones. The first trip, to Guatemala, happened my freshman year of high school, and not having my phone honestly wasn't that big of a deal to me. Social media wasn't huge at that time and I don't think I could even access the internet from my phone. My second trip, to Belize, was a little different. This trip happened the summer before my senior year of high school, so social media was a bit more prominent and I had internet access on my phone. I remember being fine with the fact that I didn't have my phone while I was in Belize, but when I got home, I noticed that I was on it the entire bus ride home from the airport. There were endless messages and facebook notifications to check. It's nice to go without technology for a period of time, but once you have it back, you realize how much is accomplished with it. You realize what you missed out on, and it takes a while to catch up. This is definitely something I will be more mindful of going forward, and will strive to take more breaks from my phone and technology.

  23. Professor Hitchcock,
    I actually remember feeling like I accomplished more in high school in comparison to college. In high school, I had a basic phone that did not have internet included. The only things that my cell phone could do was call, text, and take pictures. I took AP classes in high school and I would only go on social media on the computer at home. I focused on my school work during class beside the occasional text here and there. I received the iphone 5s the summer before I started college and this is currently the phone that I have now. I notice how difficult it is for me to fall asleep at night because I go to sleep at 11pm and I do not fall asleep until after I have wasted one or two hours checking Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and my Google messages. While I still try not to use my phone in class, I see other classmates buying things online while they are in class. I think we all struggle with having to put away the distractions. It is so easy to spend hours on our cell phones instead of spending that time doing useful things.
    In regards to drugs, I have two brothers that have become addicted to them. One brother smokes drugs that are more dangerous, and the other one smokes weed. I can tell how their personality is affected by them and it seems like they are seeking to fill a void that I think only God can fill. Since they have not found God, I think they are trying to look towards other ways of finding happiness.

  24. Cell phones are seen as a distraction in the classroom, but they don't necessarily have to be all the time. Teachers are usually strict about not allowing cell phones in the classroom, but what if teachers were to somewhat normalize cell phone use in the classroom for certain class activities? One example would be instead of having students just raise their hands during an activity, maybe the teacher can set up a poll where students would have to use some sort of technology, like their cell phones to access it. Or to review for an upcoming exam, the teacher can create a review game incorporating the use of cell phones. I think subtle changes like this will help lessen students' urge to just take out their phones in the classroom because the teacher would have created the space and time where that "freedom" is allowed.

  25. Cell phones do cause a radical amount of disruption in the classroom, as they do everywhere. While sometimes it can be caused by habit or addiction, I like to think that my own cell phone usage is more about being addicted to the people I'm messaging on the other side than the phone itself. Is that better? I can't be too sure. I could miss the opportunity of connecting with students and teachers around me by staying in my group chat's bubble. I think prioritizing is key. Prioritize people, and honestly, prioritize yourself. Know what you need and don't fall victim to staying connected via technology all the time if you don't want to do it. But if you're desperately wanting to connect to the people on the other side of the EED and you know you won't be missing out on too much, then feel free to do so. Education and new connections should not be compromised in the process though.

  26. Renae Giacopuzzi (Spring 2017)January 12, 2017 at 8:54 PM

    The comparison between drugs and phone use is very powerful as it draws attention to the reality of being distracted. I feel as if it a constant battle to not use my phone. That is not necessarily because I am addicted to my phone, but more because of the social norms that surround it. I believe that phone usage during class has become so normal that it is almost considered weird if you don't reply to someone because you're in class, which I think is ridiculous. It is because of this, I think it is important to personally limit phone usage in general, not just in class. They distract with shallow substitutions for connection when they are causing us to miss real connections. Connections with friends, professors, and even connection with knowledge.

  27. Kylie Fisher (Spring 2017)January 13, 2017 at 12:14 PM

    Reading this article made me understand that the use of drugs and a cellular device is a very distracting thing when it comes to paying attention in the classroom. Drugs are not good for your health and are a huge distraction when you are attending class. The cellular device does not affect our health but it is a huge distraction just like drugs. I always have a hard time not checking my phone during class if the class does not interest me. I put it face down on the desk or away in my backpack so I don't check it out of respect. As individuals we should limit our own use of the phone even outside of the classroom because it should not be a necessity of ours but a good convenience. I believe students should be considerate of the teacher and try not to be distracted during the class.

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