Classroom cellphones and laptops providing students with digital distractions

Don Ames
August 10, 2018 - 8:34 am

Technology is playing more of a part than ever in our kids' education. 

But, cellphones and laptops can be distracting for students in classrooms. The solution seems to be a proper balance.

Louisiana teachers are being urged to use discretion when it comes to classroom technology.  

Les Landon, Director of Public Relations for the Louisiana Federation of Teachers, says teachers, for millennia, have faced the problem of keeping students on task and technology is just the latest distraction.

"Technology offers wonderful tools that teachers can use to bring exciting new educational technologies into the classroom," says Landon. "But, at the same time, they open up new opportunities for distraction."

"We need to be able to use technology for classroom purposes. But, teachers also need to be able to shut it down when kids are using their cellphones and other devices to distract them from the important learning issues going on."

Divided attention, he says, may induce poor performance in the classroom and on exams.

"Teachers are always aware of the need to keep children on task. And that means they have to balance the use of the technology between personal use and classroom use."

"Smartphones and laptops can be wonderful tools or great distractions," Landon says. "And that's when we rely on the professionalism of the teachers to make sure they know the difference and to have good rules in their classrooms." 

Studies show that if the technology becomes a distraction, students are less likely to retain what's being taught. Additional research on electronic devices shows that smart phones can reduce the ability to think to a person's full potential, and additional research from Stanford University reveals that intense multitasking decreases the efficiency of completing a given task.

Teachers can find thousands of free lesson plans, many of them about ways to incorporate technology into education, at the following link.

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