6 Ways to Manage Device Distraction in your 1:1 Classroom
When every student has access to a device in the classroom, teachers are often concerned about distraction. Often, this concern may keep them from using technology as often as they want, because they are worried that students will not stay on task when left to self-monitor their work.
While this is a common worry, managing distractions in the 1 to 1 classroom is something you can address and prepare for, even before it becomes an issue. Here are six ways to help you manage distraction in your 1 to 1 classroom.
1. Build the relationship
As teachers we know that teaching is more about relationships then it is about content. The same holds true in a 1 to 1 classroom. You can have all of the tools available to you, but if you don’t have a strong relationship with your students, they will likely end up distracted by their devices. Talking with your students about what it means to have access to devices in your classroom is a great place to start.
2. What are you using technology for in your classroom?
Begin by asking yourself what you’re using technology for in your classroom. Are you plugging your students into canned curriculum, drilling math and phonics, or are they engaged in communication and creation? After more than 10 to 15 minutes of canned curriculum tasks, it’s normal for the brain to wander. Create a schedule, or even better, ask your students for feedback in creating one, so they will get a chance to exercise other parts of their minds by completing different kinds of tasks in a rotation. When technology is used for more engaging lessons focused on communicating and creating, students will be more focused on the lesson and less distracted by their devices. The last thing we want to do is replace “sit and get” lessons with “sit and get” computer time. Leveraging technology to help students communicate and create purposeful meaningful content is the try power of having a device in every student’s hand.
3. Use an LMS
Use a learning management system (LMS) such as Hapara. Some LMS platforms offer the ability to restrict the programs that can be used or the browsing that can be done during a lesson. This is a band-aid at best and encourages students to hack out, but offers focused browsing. When using an LMS such as Google Classroom, Hapara or Canvas, think of the task involved before implementing it. Try to use focused browsing time by setting a timer and giving students a specific amount of time to do a task, or complete an update within the LMS. All too often we find that teachers give more time than is needed to complete a task and this is when the mind wanders and students become off task.
4. Create a Digital Distraction Plan
A digital distraction plan can also help you manage distractions in your 1 to 1 classroom. Start the year off by creating a digital distraction plan with your students. Make the time to reflect on how this affects their lives and academics and let them take ownership over it. Start with goals, learning targets, and expectations for your classroom and continue the conversation from there.
5. Lead by example
The easiest thing you can do to help manage device distraction in your classroom is to lead by example. Don’t fool yourself into thinking your business is more important than your students’. Try to resist the temptation to check email, check your own messages, or search off-topic, so your students see that you’re respecting their time in the classroom as well.
6. Be an interesting teacher and create meaningful learning experiences and make them forget their phone
This is the real work of educators today. This generation of connected students doesn’t need to be entertained as much as they expect their learning to be meaningful. They are not a generation that will “do what the teachers says” because they are supposed to. If the learning is not meaningful to them, if the content does not have an impact on them and their lives, they quickly become disengaged. Yes, this generation of students is different than others and they require a different type of teaching style. One that is authentic, purposeful and meaningful to today’s world and today’s learner. This is the work of a teacher today and the work we help to support here at Eduro Learning.
Want to learn more strategies to manage device distraction in the 1:1 classroom? Download the free resource 7 Ways to Minimize Distractions in the Connected Classroom. This infographic is a preview to The 1:1 Teacher Microcredential, an academic-year-long online mentorship program that includes 24 weeks of course content learning that will strengthen your classroom management skills to keep the focus on the learning in a technology-rich classroom. Registration for the next cohort begins July 23rd. Learn more here.