Since devices first began ‘streaming’ into the classrooms, teachers have been continuously dealing with new and more challenging ways to manage the classroom. The phones were the first issue, but that seemed very simple. “Just don’t let me see them or hear them”, was how I first dealt with this and it worked for the most part. However, there would always be a phone that ‘dung’ or rang no matter how hard you would try, and when it happened, it was a big deal and big distraction. It didn’t take me long to realize that this strategy was not effective and the best attitude to take towards the increased amount of technology making it’s way into the classroom was acceptance. Last year in the classroom, when a phone ‘dung’ or rang, I would just ignore it if we were in the middle of a good discussion or make a joke about it when appropriate and there never seemed to be any big distraction. It was just part of how the classroom looked and sounded now. Of course there needs to be expectations in place for technology use in schools and classrooms, but I think we need to bring the line back a few notches if we wish to save ourselves the insanity of it all.
This week’s articles discuss many great ideas towards our ‘acceptance’ of technology playing a major role in classrooms and managing it effectively. First off, I believe the idea of acceptance is no longer even negotiable considering how much learning has increased because of technology. A great point comes from the article, ‘Would a Laptop for Everybody Help?’ by Liz Dwyer shows how a school in Main, closed the gap between students from low income backgrounds and wealthier backgrounds by equally providing access to information. She uses an example that, If a low-income student is assigned a research paper, without a laptop and internet access she has to rely on her school or local public library which may not have as many up to date or accessible resources.
What is also a newer importance at schools, because of the integration of technology, is that we help students learn how to manage their own abilities to use technology responsibly and as a tool for learning. Yokohama International school is making this a priority with not only the students, but by partnering with the parents as well. They are coming together to help students with strategies and ideas of how to manage their own use of technology. The article. ‘Living with Laptops’ by Kim Cofino states, “In the end, we’re working towards each student developing their own self control, and an appropriate level of balance that works for them and their family. To do so, we would like to work as a team: parents, school and students.”
Finally, I found the idea of tech breaks very interesting. Typically, schools and parents feel that students spend too much time on their devices. However, in Larry Rosen’s article, ‘How a “tech break” can help students refocus’. He says that because of this it is beneficial and even necessary to allow tech breaks in class and “Instead of resisting the urge to text, check Facebook or watch a YouTube video, just do it. That’s right: Cure the tech disorder with a dose of more technology!”. I’m interested to see if this idea can possibly lead to any sort of debate.