Avoiding Digital Distractions in the Classroom
Technology is an intricate part of most of our lives, especially in the lives of our teens. Teens are checking their social media more than ever during the school hours and it’s likely a trend that won’t go down anytime soon. While schools may not be able to control how students use their phones at home, they can regulate how much they are used at school. Even though there is not a 100% guarantee you will stop kids from using devices like phones and tablets during class, there are ways that schools can cut down on unnecessary screen time during the school day.
Classroom productivity is affected when students use their ‘smart’ devices to view social media or play games. For this reason, it is important for schools to implement digital firewalls as they allow the administration to block sites that keep students otherwise unfocused. By blocking social media and other unrelated school sites with a firewall, you have a better chance of helping students to stay focused on their teachers, instead of who has the most likes on Instagram or is crushing the most candy in Candy Crush.
If having something like a firewall is not an option in your school, creating a “no phone policy” in your classroom may be the next best thing. Teachers should explain to the students why these policies have been put in place and then have them place their phones in a basket once they walk into the classroom. Having policies like this allows the teacher to achieve and maintain a better control of the classroom.
Another way to cut down on social media distractions is to use the phone as part of the learning process. Utilize smartphones to help students with the assignments they are working on in class. There are many apps out there now that will allow your students to take surveys using their mobile devices or to interact with each other in the classroom, and to encourage classroom participation. This method can even help provide the teachers with feedback on how the students are learning. Apps could be implemented in situations where group work is assigned.
While some instances may call you to block sites at school, ban phones during the class period, or encourage kids to use their devices during class to complete assignments, it’s important to find a solution that works best for you and your school, keeping your students as focused as possible. It’s all about finding the right balance between using technology for constructive learning vs.having it cause a distracted learning.