If There Is A Will There Is A Way!

Last week we talked about the con’s of technology in our classrooms, today we are going to take a glimpse of some preventative measures to these cons.  If you need to refresh your memory in regards to the con’s we talked about last class please refer to my post from last week.

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According to this blog https://blog.cengage.com/technology-classroom-distraction-asset/

“60% claimed that texting is a major cause for distraction.”

“59% said that students are busy checking out their favorite social-media sites.”

“45% noted that students are distracted by games.”

“25% revealed that some students use the search functionality of their tech tools to search for answers (that is, cheat) during class.”

My colleague Elizabeth was doing some reading this week and came across an article that provided some great ideas.  One idea that I took away from Elizabeth’s blog post this week that I absolutely loved was the idea of a tech check in.  With a tech check in I believe that we don’t eliminate tech as a whole, we simply provide less opportunities for student’s devices to be a distraction.  With a tech check in we begin by setting an alarm every 15 min, when the alarm goes off students have one min to to check their device.

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As time goes on we begin to increase the amount of time between check ins, hopefully by providing this opportunity to check in our students will learn to check social media, texts, snap chat etc. during this one minute that is available to them rather than during important instruction time.  As an educator I do believe that we also need to find ways of incorporating their devices into our classrooms and encouraging our students to use their devices in appropriate ways.  We need to encourage our students to stay focused on the task at hand and provide positive feedback when the devices are being used appropriately.  If we continue to do this then students will be able to continue using their devices to benefit their learning in our classrooms.  It is essential that we promote good digital citizenship, that we discuss/provide opportunities and model our expectations.  Lastly, rather than eliminating as a whole we need to manage these distractions; in order to manage we need to provide resources, apps, and tools for our students to self regulate.

Another way to avoid distraction would be to draw our students in.

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With tech we can provide opportunities for discovery, discussion and learning.  Some ways of doing this could be through a facebook page, students are able to post, discuss, share via our class page.  Students could use an app called Dipity (Dipity.com), with this app they would be able to create a timeline that focuses on their learning in the course at that particular moment in time.  Finding different apps and resources to encourage the use of tech in a positive manner is sure to be a game changer in our classrooms.

Research has proven that many educators use video resources within their classroom to support the curricular material already being taught.

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According to a survey 94% of teachers have effectively incorporated some type of video in their classrooms within the past year.  Most teachers admitted to using video frequently, perhaps even once a week… why is this?

“As educators, our aim is to get students energized and engaged in the hands-on learning process, and video is clearly an instructional medium that is compelling and generates a much greater amount of interest and enjoyment than the more traditional printed material. Using sight and sound, video is the perfect medium for students who are auditory or visual learners. With the added use of subtitles each child then has the choice to watch, listen to, or read each presentation. Video stimulates and engages students creating interest and maintaining that interest for longer periods of time, and it provides an innovative and effective means for educators to address and deliver the required curriculum content”. As educators it is our job to ensure that we are incorporating the video’s because we feel it will enhance the learning experience for our students, not just because we feel like incorporating a different means of teaching.  Once we have established that we are incorporating the use of videos in our teaching for the right reasons then we need to ensure that the video we selected is appropriate and meaningful to the lesson being taught.  Videos provide authentic learning opportunities for our students and can be useful in engaging our students, possibilities for deeper level of understanding and increased motivation.

How does technology affect the socialization of our children??

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Although many people think technology is taking over and our children are spending too much time on their phones, gaming etc. it hasn’t taken away all opportunities for socialization.  First and foremost we need to ensure that our students learn appropriate manners in face to face interactions before we throw them into online interactions with their peers.  We can ensure our students are good digital citizens by promoting positive socialization skills.  We can provide opportunities for our students to work on their socialization on the playground, in the hallway, in group activities etc.  Students are able to learn how to socialize appropriately through interactions with their teachers and classmates on a daily basis.  They are able to learn by doing, encourage them to ask questions, discuss… we need to model what we expect.

Funding also becomes a huge problem when talking about involving tech into our classrooms.  Many classrooms, school divisions etc. simply do not have the necessary funding to be able to successfully incorporate technology into their classrooms.  I’m sure there are some rules in regards to the types of funding and technology that we are able to access however I was able to find a best buy school tech grant which seemed like a great way of accessing the funds necessary to incorporate tech into our classrooms.  Grants for Elementary schools should: help introduce or improve the technology available to all students in the school from Kindergarten to Grade 8”  If we are able to prove to our school divisions how beneficial technology can be for our teaching and learning perhaps funding could be a possibility.

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We could use Kyle’s idea of bring your own device, students continue bringing their own devices to class to be used for learning purposes.  Possible donations may also be a good idea, if people have different devices at home that aren’t being used then our schools could make use of them!

Coach’s Eye App in response to cons: Plan lessons where you have the opportunity to pull students aside and have that one on one time where you can analyze and discuss the students movement together.  Some students noted that they felt embarrassed when critiqued by the app in front of peers, so finding time and critiquing individually rather than in front of peers is essential in ensuring this app has a positive outcome.

Camtasia in response to cons:  If students do not have access to technology at home to complete assigned homework, encourage them to use the technology available to them at school.  As the teacher make yourself available at times outside of class time to ensure the students can come complete assignments using the technology within school hours.

Xbox in response to cons: Again, maybe by donation if someone had a system not being used.  Have alternate things planned for students not engaged in the xbox Kinect activity.  Allow transition between xbox Kinect activities and other activities so that others can play as well.

Heart rate monitor in response to cons: Leave devices at school, only to be used during class time.

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Overall, I think there is a lot to consider when incorporating tech into our classrooms, all of which will not be solved immediately.  It is essential that we plan and come up with solutions to these con’s as it is a positive way of showing others how important incorporating tech into our teaching and learning can be.  If we work together this is definitely a possibility, I look forward to working with my colleagues this semester to come up with solutions to our con’s/problems and move forward in a positive direction.

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4 thoughts on “If There Is A Will There Is A Way!”

  1. You provided a lot of eye opening statistics in your blog post. “60% claimed that texting is a major cause for distraction.”, “59% said that students are busy checking out their favorite social-media sites.” Students using technology at inappropriate times seems to be a major concern for teachers today. I enjoyed your comments around the power of using visual resources for students. This is such a helpful way to reinforce what we are teaching and gives students another way to process things. Thanks for the great post! Lots of interesting points in your blog to think about.

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  2. Great blog post Jayme-Lee!
    I agree with you about Elizabeth’s post. The tech check in sounds like a great possibility to alleviate the constant distractions caused by our phones. Also, you definitely shared a lot of ways to help with the constant issues we face with student devices that disrupt their learning.

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  3. Great post ! I really appreciate the fact that you always include very practical suggestions at the end of your post, and your solutions to all of these tech problems seem very practical and applicable. What I often find in reading all of these solutions is that they are sometimes very ‘utopian’ – as in, it works in my mind and with the perfect classroom, but not with my actual classes (I know this is cynical, and I don’t mean it like that, I am just trying to be realistic). However, your suggestions seems to be fruitful even in ‘real’ classes, and particularly applicable to your teaching context. I also love the suggestion of fighting fire with fire – including more tech in the classroom rather than avoid it at all costs. Thanks for the great post !

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