Addressing Distractions Facing Educators with Tech in the Classroom

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Integrating mobile devices into the classroom can be an exciting way for educators to engage their students in new methods of learning while opening the door to the wealth of knowledge that is available through the Internet. Like all tools, implementing a Bring Your Own Device program in schools comes with advantages and new challenges. Understanding how to address these concerns is an important part of working out a strategy for having a smooth transition for including mobile devices in the classroom. For administrators, knowing the facts are a critical part of making the decision on how to go about bringing mobile devices into their school.

How Mobile Devices Help to Enhance the Learning Experience

Students already enter the classroom with their own mobile devices. This fact alone means that the investment for schools is relatively minimal since it can help to lower the overall costs of having the program. Most apps that are used for educational purposes can run across the range of mobile operating systems for both Android and iOS, making BYOD a very versatile platform for use in the classroom. There are numerous advantages that can be found in integrating mobile devices into the classroom but here a few of the top ones.

Opens students to the information available on the web

Whether it’s working on group projects, individual research, or accessing online materials, the Internet has become an essential tool for learning. Cutting students off from this valuable resource that they use in their daily lives is no longer an option for teachers, and it should be embraced. By providing a structured space for using the Internet, a whole new range of opportunities can be opened up.

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Better Communication Between Teachers and Students

By moving to a digital platform, collaboration between students and educators can become seamless. There are a wide range of classroom management apps that are available for this purpose where students can work on projects together, have assignments posted and checked, and accomplish other tasks that can make a learning more productive.

Preparing Students for the Tech Savvy Workforce

At this point, we all understand how technical knowledge plays a key role in succeeding in the modern workplace. Introducing students to technology as a tool for their professional lives is an important responsibility for educators. Showing them how to place limits between work and play with their devices can be an essential life lesson.

What are the Distractions?

A BYOD program is not without its risks. There are a number of challenges facing administrators who are looking at piloting such a program in their school. With all of the content out there on the web, students can easily focus from their tasks while in class. Some content may be appropriate but should not be available during class time. Other content is simply inappropriate such as sexual and violent images, and and to be filtered.

Games can also distract from learning. Remember how the games available from within graphing calculators, where we even managed to turn a calculator into a way to break away from the learning. A smartphone filled with addictive games and other “noisy” apps can be an even more attractive way to zone out.

Social media is heavily woven into the lives of students. Students checking their Facebook or Twitter feeds, messaging with their friends, or playing the latest fad game, present a serious challenge to educators looking to utilize mobile devices in their classrooms. Creating a space for learning that disconnects students from their online lives while still letting them use their devices is essential for the successful implementation of technology in education.

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What are some solutions?

In order to take control of technology in the classroom, administrators need to have in place a comprehensive system to address all of these concerns. This solution should include tools to address security, content filtering, and limiting access to problematic apps and websites. NetSpark Mobile’s unique real-time Content Quilting approach filters content from within an app or webpage, removing inappropriate content while allowing students to access the information they need. Educators can also restrict access to specific apps or limit browsing with time controls according to class needs, all of which are easily managed from the central administration portal. Facing these distractions to learning can appear daunting but in reality they are far from insurmountable with the right solutions. Adopting flexible controls for managing access to content, like those available with NetSpark Mobile, will prove a critical factor in the success of any BYOD program.