So I came across this article that discussed the ability of tech gadgets to distract students.
Excerpt from Psychology of technology article:
“Recently my research team observed nearly 300 middle school, high school and university students studying something important for a mere 15 minutes in their natural environments…The results were startling. First, these students were only able to focus and stay on task for an average of three minutes at a time and nearly all of their distractions came from technology.”
The important question to ask here as an technology-enthusiastic educator (ME!) is: How do I get the most out of tech and minimize the harm? Specifically, how do I integrate tech tools in my classroom so they are not a distraction.
This is not hard of course. As a grade 4 teacher, I can easily dictate when and how computers and iPads will be used. The students do as I say and I alone decide what is the appropriate amount. But what happens in grade 7 when the students start to sport cellphones/ipods? I don’t really have an answer. (ok, I don’t plan on teaching grade 7s) But here is a pedagogical moment – as an educator who uses technology gadgets freely and openly in the classroom, I need to model appropriate use. In addition to dictating what to do with their iPads, I model and instill the right thinking. Tech/internet/gadgets, like other tools, can be misused. Similar to modelling and teaching students the right way to hold a pair of scissors (blades firmly grasped inside the palm, facing downward), we model the safe way of using internet, ipads, iphones…etc.
One final quote:
“If they checked Facebook just once during the 15-minute study period they were worse students. It didn’t matter how many times they looked at Facebook; once was enough.”