TECHNOLOGY OPENS DOOR TO NEW CHALLENGES
ELIZABETH Y. SAYSON
While technology has opened the door to exciting new learning opportunities with technological devices such as laptops, gadgets and smartphones, these have also opened the door to new challenges. One of these challenges is the distraction factor.
We should teach students to integrate technology into their schoolwork and their learning - but we should also guide them into staying focused on the task at hand.
Studies have shown that the ability to focus on a task has been linked to future success. In the study, it was noted that the ability [to focus] is more important than IQ or the socioeconomic status of the family you grew up in for determining career success, financial success, and health.
In another research, teachers describe their experiences with students using technology in the classroom. They describe the challenges of keeping kids focused in a high-tech environment: Because students aren’t being given challenging work, they naturally move to social media because they’re bor ed.
Other teachers discourage the use of any kind of tech in class to assure that students are engaged and focused. It has been proven that students focus better once their phones are out of the picture.
While some teachers discourage the use of tech, it is also unhelpful if students have no expectations for how tech is used. We should talk with kids about their use of technology— why they use it, when they use it, how they use it. This way, they can know how to use it effectively most of the time, both in the classroom and at home.
There is also a need to engage parents, who most often than not are also distracted with technology themselves. They should serve as role models and have open conversations with their children and acknowledge the role technology plays in students’social lives, at the same time teaching them the invaluable skill of balancing their social lives with personal goals and success.
Focus and attention are huge issues with students today. It has been our experience that students take long to complete their homework, because they aren’t focusing on what needs to get done.
There is no such things as efficient multitasking; when you switch from one task to another, you break the flow you had in one to pay attention to the new task.
Instead of removing devices from students’hands, we should be teaching students how to manage their attention with their devices and explain what multitasking is doing to their ability to effectively complete their work.
When students leave school, they have to know norms and etiquette for their devices, and need to know their own limits when it comes to distraction. They should know when to put their phone away because it’s distracting them, or when listening to music while they work is slowing them down.
The author is Teacher III at CutCut II Elementary School, Tarlac City