To educators who embrace new technologies wholeheartedly, digital devices are a powerful tool for creating an engaged and individualized educational experience. To those that are a little more hesitant, digital devices seem more like a quick route to Instagram and Facebook — that is, to distractions that interfere with the educational experience, rather than boosting it.
Most educators, however, believe both of these things at once and to varying degrees throughout the day, based on the types of classes and resources available to them, and, really, what time it is.
Within this debate, there’s only one thing that’s crystal clear: digital technology in the classroom is here to stay, whether it’s provided directly by the school or used surreptitiously by students on the sly. The question is not, “Should we allow digital devices in the classroom?”, it’s “Now that they’re here, how can we prevent digital devices from becoming a distraction?” Let’s take a look.
Deb Gardner's insight:
Would you disallow students the use of pencils in the classroom because students might write something other than what was intended or taught?
Do distractions occur due to classroom management and intentional lesson planning issues rather than the tool itself?
Let's not lose it just because students haven't learned how to use it appropriately (yet).
When adopting technology in the classroom, one of the key concerns for teachers and administrators is classroom management. I am often asked if there is a way to “lock down an iPad screen” or “ensure students cannot go to inappropriate websites” (e.g. Social Media). In other words, how do we keep students on task and are not distracted by the novelty of gadgets or communicating with friends via texting or social media.
Often, teachers will take up devices (such as mobile phones) to avoid the issue of students texting or checking Facebook on their phones (eliminating access to a powerful, pocket computer in the process).
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