Technology and education: turning distraction into productivity

turn technological distraction into productivity
Credit: Sam Battaglieri/Unsplash

As a teacher, school technology officer, and parent, I face many difficult decisions regarding the use of technology. And when I talk to many of my friends and colleagues, I realize that many face the same challenge: finding ways to eliminate the distractions that keep students from focusing on their schoolwork.

We know that technology can be a great engine for education. For many students, it can be the difference between learning something and not learning something.

Most educators have moved beyond the reticence of using technology in education and embraced its benefits. Two-thirds of teachers believe that opportunities to enable inquiry-based learning include: enhanced through the use of technology, and 55% agree that student reporting is enhanced by digital technologies. Sixty percent of teachers believe that technology has had a positive impact on the learning experience of students with disabilities.

Technology creates productivity, distraction

“Digital technology offers a great opportunity to tailor some learning experiencesby looking for patterns and correlations in student data, according to author Marc Tucker, president of the National Center for Education and Economics.

Indeed, it enables teachers to create more engaging and engaging lessons. I look forward to advances in artificial intelligence that will allow teachers to create experiences tailored to students of all levels to ensure maximum learning outcomes for them.

Parents also believe that digital media and technology are a positive influence on their children’s math, reading, social skills and friendships. At the same time, however, we all realize that technology has at least one major drawback: distraction.

Students can learn to earn personal access

All too often, students use devices in ways they shouldn’t be using when they should be focusing on classes. As the director of technology and innovation at the school, I had to weigh the benefits of the powerful tool that captivates our students and the distraction that same tool can create.

Teachers around the world use a variety of techniques to ward off technology inattention, such as banning personal devices, using compliance tracking apps, and creating lessons that require discussion by students. Other options include giving students short breaks for personal technical use or allowing students to use apps that prevent social media access and web browsing.

While looking for a solution for our schools, we started using an app to take back some of the distracted time and use it well and productively. Our schools are testing 1Question, which allows students to earn personalized screen time by completing educational activities with games.

We can put our own curriculum questions in the app for customized learning. And the app provides educators with data on students’ daily progress and proficiency levels. Students can participate at school and, if their parents agree, at home. So far, it helps increase student learning time.

As educators, we want to embrace the help technology provides without the frustrations of distraction. Such solutions can make it easier.

Ben Woods is the leader in learning technology and innovation at the Wollongong Catholic Education Office in Australia. The schools use the 1 question app.

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