Does Technology Harm Your Grades?


Megan Sheehan, Writer

Do you rely too much on spell check?  Can you complete an assignment without checking your social media?

An article from the University of Alabama in Birmingham states that many high school students rely too often on automatic spelling correctors. As a result, teachers have noticed that they have spent more time correcting student’s spelling on handwritten assignments. Also, they’ve noticed that they’ve seen an increase of texting abbreviations in formal papers.

“When students text, they’re writing in a particular genre and for an informal audience,” said Tonya Perry, Ph.D, an assistant professor at UAB. “On the other hand, when students submit a final paper, they have written, revised and edited in another genre and for a more formal audience. In this case, of course, we’d expect the words to be complete and correctly spelled.”

However, some students disagree with the idea that automatic spelling correctors can be harmful. Sophomore Cristina Bolton stated that spell check can be a useful tool. “I think that spell check can improve your writing abilities because you can not worry about spelling and focus on the grammar aspects of it.”

Freshman Caroline Smelser agreed with Cristina. “I don’t really rely on spell check, but I use it.”

Erin Martin, a sophomore, stated, “I think people don’t rely too much on spell check because most of the time after spell check corrects them, they don’t get it wrong the next time.”

Even if you’re an avid speller, technology can still be a distraction to you. According to NBC News, a new study shows that college students who are on Facebook while studying end up getting an average of 20 percent lower grades than students who didn’t use social media while studying.

NBC News stated that this breaks the stereotype that young people are great multitaskers.

Our study, and other previous work, suggests that while people may think constant task-switching allows them to get more done in less time, the reality is it extends the amount of time needed to carry out tasks and leads to more mistakes.”

Sophomore Darby Harris admitted, “I think the Internet is a distraction because I always want to be connected to the world.”

Caroline Smelser also confirmed that she can find the Internet to be an interruption to her schoolwork. “The Internet and social media can be a distraction when I’m studying!”.

Erin Martin also explained her opinion on the internet. “The Internet is a distraction because you are too tempted to stop your work and go on the computer. Then you forget about your homework.”

Tessa Chappel, a senior, confessed, “For me the Internet isn’t a distraction because I can put my phone down during school and look at it when I am not working. But for some people it’s definitely a distraction if they can’t save what they’re looking at for later.”

If your device is distracting, PCWorld has some tips for students who can’t seem to put their device down. Their first suggestion is to try silencing your phone or device. Constant notifications can be tempting, especially when you are doing something you find boring. You may even want to try to leave your device in another room.

Also, if you are working on a computer or device, close off all other apps or tabs so they are out of your sight. If you just can’t be without your phone for a long time, try giving yourself timed breaks. For example, work 25 minutes straight, then give yourself 5 minutes to check your phone.

Technology can be both a tool and trouble. It’s up to you to decide where you will let it take you.