DEVICES; ONLY DISTRACTION?
Recently I sat down with a student of mine. She finds the subject I teach incredibly difficult, so we decided that I would talk her through the elements she had to study. The booklet they're using to study is available online, but we have it on paper, too. I asked her which one she preferred to take a look at: "The hard copy please, on my tablet I get distracted too easily."
This response is not uncommon and I see it in everyday practice, too. Students become more and more attached to their digital devices, and can't let any notification go unnoticed. Whenever I walk by my students as they're working on their devices, I see tons of notifications, which they are supposed ignore. Apps such as Snapchat, Facebook, Whatsapp, and other frequently used social media interrupt their learning.
From a biological point of view, the students' responses are incredibly logical. Firstly, their prefrontal cortex is not fully developed up until the age of 25. This causes teenagers to respond to stimuli without thinking of the consequences, and to live in the moment, disregarding long-term effects. Apart from that, a certain addiction is present, as notifications often cause the secretion of neurotransmitters such as endorphins and dopamine. Lastly, a desire to belong is very strong in teens, as they are in their most insecure part of their lives.
Now, as you may know, I think ICT is a great tool to improve education. This, however, requires students to focus on learning instead of games, social media, or other apps. Do you want to make learning at your school digital, but also efficient and effective? Consider the following rules:
Of course these rules are harder to enforce when your school has a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy. Still it can be very beneficial to students to prohibit certain apps. Not because they necessarily want to, but because they already told you that they need it.