Even before the days of digital distractions, teachers often struggled with inattentive students doodling on their notebook or falling asleep on their desk. The problem then as well as today is that students at every age have trouble focussing on a lecture for more than 15 minutes at a time.
One of the most used methods to keep students from doodling in class was by asking them to make detailed notes while a lecture is in session. This practice encouraged students to focus on the material and had an added benefit of helping them retain more of the content.
The doodlers of days past are no different than the students of today who are always on their devices during lecture. A professor who modifies their teaching style to enable the use of technology does precisely what teachers did when they insisted on classroom notes. Rather than ban them all together, we must use the “devices” to the advantage of students.
It is essential that we utilize the inherent functionality that devices can add to our lessons, while at the same time teaching proper technology etiquette. Simple tactics such as enabling digital note taking, sharing live presentations, or even asking real-time questions during class essentially hijack the technology students bring to and allows them to use the devices they love for your purposes.
Teachers who once made pen and paper an ally instead of a distraction must seek the same results with the current generation. Embracing the technology for new methods of teaching allows for students to learn with a medium that speaks to them and provides a win-win situation in any classroom.
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