In this technological age, classrooms are creating digital spaces where students rely on devices for educational purposes. While technology enhances the learning experience, too much gadgetry can be distracting. As a teacher, it is important to find the right balance to maintain a focused and productive learning environment. In this article, we explore seven infallible tips to help prevent device overuse in your classroom.
In 2015, a survey of American College Students involving 675 respondents was conducted to trace the different classroom distractions caused by using devices in the classroom for non-educational purposes.
Accordingly, respondents spend 20.9% of their class time using gadgets even for non-educational purposes.
How can I help control the excessive use of gadgets in my classroom knowing that my students belong to the technological age of stylish gadgets?
Technology in the Classroom
To point it straight, gadget overuse is never good! For, how do you take that sudden chime in the middle of the class interaction? Somebody’s receiving a message! It means somebody has been using a cellphone during instruction! Then, disruptions occur because you will be interrogating as to who is who?
With the advances of technology, children of all ages have incredible access to stylish gadgets that they can’t spend a day without playing their favorite online games or visiting their accustomed sites.
Hence, it isn’t surprising that our students today are fond of using gadgets in and out of the classroom. So, I ponder on the question: “How can I help control excessive use of gadgets in my classroom?”
Technology in the classroom positively impacts student learning. However, it should not be overused; otherwise, it could interfere with student learning. And according to Ray Bradbury, “Too much of anything isn’t good for anyone.”
I am a technology fan myself and as much as possible, I integrate technology into my daily classroom routines. From data entry to instructional delivery, technology plays a vital role in my everyday undertaking as a teacher.
However, the question is, am I really aware of my students’ technology consumption?
For this, I intend to share some smart tips on how can I help control the excessive use of gadgets in my classroom. I find this very timely and you can adopt the following tips in your effective classroom management strategies.
<<<Don’t miss the most useful gadgets that support student learning? Here are our top 13 favorites.
Hence, let’s get started.
How Can I Help Control the Excessive Use of Gadgets in My Classroom?
For me, the idea of allowing students to freely use their gadgets in the classroom is preposterous. I didn’t buy it. There should be a limit to everything.
Although electronic gadgets have done great things in facilitating complex lessons and increasing learning opportunities in the classroom, I still hold the idea of what’s excessive on whatever things could bring any harm.
1. Integrate technology appropriately
Make a plan on how to integrate technology into your lessons to enhance the teaching and learning process. Don’t just pull any device and present it in front of the class without any plan.
If the content is best understood when flashed on the screen, then your laptop and projector can be your incredible teaching partners.
Our lessons are more enlivened if the technology is used most appropriately. As you craft your lesson plan, you should know in which part are you going to incorporate technology to enhance student learning effectively.
The thoughtful use of technology in the classroom will not only give students amazing learning opportunities but will also make them use smart gadgets at a smart pace. In short, tech integration in the classroom should be part of a well-thought-out teaching and learning plan.
2. Implement rules on gadget usage
“The use of cell phones during class hours is prohibited.”
What do you think of this rule? Hence, the debate whether cell phones are learning tools or distractions goes on and on.
“Schools should act quickly to cope with smartphone issues,” says Dr. Pasi Sahlberg, a Finnish education expert. He emphasized that school children under 12 should not be allowed to use smartphones in school as it can distract student learning.
From a personal standpoint, since more and more of my students bring cell phones to school, I modify the rule. The use of cell phones during instruction time is prohibited unless it’s for educational purposes. Does this make sense? Could it be about teaching them about tech discipline?
Technology resistance in the classroom is denying our students what’s innovative and collaborative. When smart devices are playing up in education, we should effectively integrate technology into our instructions. However, as classroom managers, we should know exactly what avenues we can incorporate technology into our classes.
In other words, there must be rules on gadget utilization in the classroom. Our students should know exactly when to bring out their smartphones for browsing purposes and for project-based interactions.
Although in nearly every aspect of the classroom routines technology is of importance especially on how students learn, it is extremely necessary to implement rules about using smart devices in the classroom.
If, for example, you are allowing your students to use their tablets or smartphones in their group tasks only, then you should not be seeing them using their gadgets during the preliminary activities.
Furthermore, educating children to become responsible users of technology will help them focus more on learning and not get distracted easily.
3. Stick to the agreement
If the use of smart gadgets in the classroom is allowed only for educational purposes and to address the needs of students with learning difficulties, then you and your students should stick to it.
Model expectations. That’s how can I help control the excessive use of gadgets in my classroom. With that, I also don’t check my phone during instructions unless it’s an emergency or it is used as a teaching tool.
Like when I use it to show my learners educational apps and digital presentations, then I use my cell phone and allow my students to use theirs too. It’s just a matter of properly managing the use of cell phones in the classroom.
I don’t allow them to use their cell phones just any time. They should stick to the rules, that’s what we agreed right from the beginning.
4. Spend time with your students
Establish rapport with your students. Interact with them when they’re free and listen to their stories.
Spending time with your students will help them tuck out from their gadgets for a while. Moreover, it’s an incredible way to build a strong relationship with your learners.
Having a moment with your students will give you opportunities to know their worries and to know them better. I find it necessary because from what I have noticed, students are fond of checking their social media accounts during break time.
And they are also doing that at home! So, I manage to take the time to talk with them so they can stay away from their gadgets even for a while.
Another way of controlling students’ use of their smartphones, tablets, and other gadgets is by involving them in physical activities like sports, theater arts, gardening, and joining school clubs. I find this technique very constructive because you will be helping your students discover their full potential.
5. Inform the students of the consequences of gadget overuse
Embracing technology is never an issue here. It’s on how it’s used.
Therefore, as concerned adults, we should inform our students of the bad effects of excessive gadget use on health and on their performance.
Studies reveal that excessive use of gadgets is detrimental to one’s health. It can cause physical and mental damage to anyone who is spending too much time using gadgets – to our students to be specific.
Furthermore, it can distract students’ attention which can eventually affect their class standing.
So, while there’s still time, we should help parents in keeping their children away from the bad effects of gadget overuse. It might be the great responsibility of the parents but as passionate teachers, we should also look into the well-being of our students.
Let’s make our students understand the consequences and learn a healthy lifestyle. It’s always beneficial to keep them informed by educating them of what’s not pleasant even at a young age.
6. Engage students in other activities
How do your students spend their free time in the classroom? Are they allowed to get their smartphones and play games? Or are they motivated to do other essential activities?
Make the most of students’ free time. Encourage them to read their favorite storybooks. With this in mind, you should prepare your classroom beforehand. Enrich your classroom by taking care of your display boards and your collection of learning materials.
If books or other reading materials abound in your classroom, your students are given choices of how they spend short breaks or their free time instead of just tapping their screens for online games.
There should be a reading corner in your classroom or an activity table where students gather around during their free time and do enriching activities such as reading, writing, or preparing their outputs.
Furthermore, giving students enriching activities will stimulate their interest in learning and make them love what they are doing even more. When they are given time to explore their skills with their peers, they are taught how to develop their social skills at the same time.
With that, they will realize that making connections is not only happening on social media.
7. Don’t forget the basics
It is a common notion among parents that gadgets never replace ‘good parenting’ which gives me the idea that technology never replaces a good teacher.
Although I may be using PowerPoint presentations, educational apps, and digital resources in my teaching, I still value what’s conventional. I’m not totally skeptical of what’s slow and traditional.
‘Chalk and talk’ is one of the traditional teaching styles that might have gained scrutiny, but we couldn’t deny its importance in explaining complex concepts.
Yes, I agree that the use of interactive smartboards in the classroom is seen as an important innovation in education but its presence can’t be seen in every classroom across the globe. What about in far-flung areas where technology is very limited?
As for me, as a teacher for a decade now, I have witnessed how it is to be in a traditional classroom and in a technologically-paced classroom. Obviously, there’s a big difference in the teaching and learning process. However, do we really make a careful assessment of what really makes effective teaching?
I am not advocating that we use traditional teaching styles all of the time. What I’m saying is that there are aspects of the basics that give consolation to what’s contemporary. An interactive discussion with your students about the story’s plot and characters while seated around on the classroom rug can still give students a fluent reading experience.
8. Promote a healthy lifestyle in the classroom
Keeping children safe from the negative consequences of over usage of electronic devices is a way of expressing our love and concern for our students.
In fact, it has been an advocacy of the World Vision, a global child-centered organization, to encourage children to live healthy lifestyles.
As teachers, we have great opportunities to instill in our students the significant impact of healthy lifestyles. We have to let them understand that technology can be really beneficial to everyone if it’s used responsibly.
Since digital devices help broaden the perspective in the classroom to facilitate learning, we should be monitoring our students regarding technology utilization in the classroom.
Your thoughtful use of technology in the classroom is much appreciated. The use of smart gadgets in the classroom will not only make the learning environment exciting and engaging but will also make children healthy and happy.
9. Create a responsible digital community
To highly support tip #2, in a general sense, children must be guided in the use of online resources and EdTech tools.
Before children are cast onto tablets, laptops, and anything digital, they must understand clearly the rules and regulations of such privilege.
Without proper guidance, our students will navigate the digital world with the same carefree attitude as they deal with their usual social media routines.
It’s more advantageous to take an early initiative and teach them how to use technology and steer digital work appropriately rather than dealing with detrimental issues subsequently.
10. Revamp your entire instructional plan
Sincere and profound planning for the whole instructional plan can make a big difference. You should know exactly on which part of the lesson will the students take benefit of their screens and when should they keep them.
Moreover, the implementation of rules and regulations should be a part of the instructional plan. Without its strict enforcement in the classroom, most expectedly, students will get into trouble with gadget addiction.
Excessive use of gadgets in the classroom can rob meaningful learning experiences. Thus, it is necessary to detach our students from and reduce their reliance on technology on a regular basis by reinventing our whole instructional plan.
To keep us guided by the use of gadgets in the classroom, let’s consider the best insights shared in the video below.
How can I help control the excessive use of gadgets in my classroom? Have you tried asking yourself this question too? Perhaps we do share the same sentiments and so I am bringing the above-mentioned fail-safe tips to the table.
As technology has become more integrated into our lives, we should spend time rethinking our teaching styles or the teaching-learning process as a whole.
With that, you are very sure that the tech gadgets in your classroom are learning tools and not as causes of distractions.
In other words, the use of technology in the classroom is not all about that, as it should be about properly integrating what’s digital in the classroom. Consequently, being excessive can’t be an issue after all.
As an innovative educator, how do you use technology in your classroom?