As schools grapple with an onslaught of technology in their students’ bags and pockets and how these handheld marvels appear to have the downside of becoming the ultimate distraction from learning, some schools are engaging in backlash against smartphones by banning their appearance in-school with the threat of confiscation.
Quickclass’s Head of Education from Bournemouth University, James Fair, argues that with proper boundaries and controls presented to students, a happier co-existence between forward-looking educators, their alumni and the dangers of distractions from learning that new technology presents.
Here are some handy tips to ensure this happy medium can be reached.
- Start by encouraging Smartphone use for ‘out-of-class’ learning – adding convenience to tasks that students need anyway is a great way to remove barriers to learning rather than erecting them.
- Denote certain times of class which should be ‘Phones Down’ when devices should not be in students hands, but this should only be during important class-wide discussions and some activities.
- Start a discussion about the types of Apps that students might be expected to use in class (mobile VLE’s like Quickclass as well as reference resources like Wikipedia and specific learning sites) and Apps that aren’t likely to boost learning like Snapchat or Facebook.
The best approach overall is to be as open and non-dictatorial about device use. Outright bans will only turn your students against you, and with the proliferation of devices become more and more integral to our lives, we’re far better off riding the wave than being wiped out by it!