Psychology, Technology, and Education – my three passions

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.”

 I may be in trouble.

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