In recent discussions of technology in classrooms, a controversial issue has been whether technology has become a distraction to students.  On the one hand, some argue that as technology has evolved to the point that students are always on the internet.  From this perspective, there’s worry that students are trying to multitask by doing school work and being on the internet. There’s also talk of students not being able to remember information because they can just look it up or read a summary of a story. This perspective did bring up good points on how kids can teach themselves new things through the use of technology and how gaming/virtual worlds can provide collaboration without having that fear of feeling stupid or anxiety. On the other hand, however, others argue that distractions can be dealt with in classrooms.  According to this view, we need to realize that multitasking isn’t real because our brains can’t focus on two different things without having one suffer from not being able to fully focus on what you are doing. They say that we need to change how we write because we read differently online than in a book, break it up for students with bullet points. Use the distraction as a way to teach them the subject, teach not to post everything online for everyone to see, if they want to protect their privacy then they need to learn what is okay to put up and what’s not. Try to make learning outside the internet fun and entertaining.  In sum then, the issues is whether there is a way to keep students from being distracted from the internet or not.

My own view is that distraction might be considered a bad thing, it can also be a good thing. I was take a break from homework, especially if I’m stuck and don’t know how to move on, and watch some TV or go through the internet. Sometimes having a break and distracting your brain can be helpful and you get with a spark of inspiration on what to do next or how to continue the paper. Though I concede that having a device that connects you to these distractions with you at all times can be bad, I still maintain that teachers can teach students when it is appropriate to pull them out and when it’s not.  For example, having a lecture on poets for 20 minutes can be just enough time for students to get bored, so give them a break and have them use their phones/laptops to search modern day poets or a poem and have them share what they found. Although some might object that it gives the student too much power to goof off and not look anything up, but I think that if you give them five minutes to do so you give them that ownership of their own learning for a while.

Advertisements