Screens Off

The first goal of implementing edtech is mastering the off switch

Without thoughtful structure, Internet access can be a distraction and can negatively impact students' academic success. Studies have demonstrated that typical "college-style" open laptop use is destructive to academic performance. It's true too that BYOD activities can be rich, interactive educational experiences. But until you have the methods in place to measure student productivity on their computers, keep the screens off.

Unless you have evidence to the contrary, assume your students are off-task when looking at a screen

Why is there pressure?

As teachers, we want to be seen to be leading a modern, high-tech classroom. Our peers may be using technology to great effect. It seems like our students are crying out for more technology. Phones and laptops keep popping up. Yet we must stick with best practices as many of our students are addicted to their screens.

Set the expectation

As you discuss your syllabus at the start of the year, remind the students that there is to be no uninvited screen-time. Teachers may confiscate any unauthorized laptop or cell phone. You can return them after class or submit them to our Dean of Students.

When to allow screen-time

Once you've completed EdTech Level 2's Safety First. Until then, they'll have plenty of time online to complete work outside of class, and we first need to learn how to set all that up.

What will Level 2 teach me?

Laptops and lectures

Students suffer most from screen-time during direct instruction. The explanation of new content requires one's full attention. There's a reasonable point to be made that note-taking on a laptop could help one maintain focus. We'll show you methods to verify your students' notes and techniques like random spot-checks and earning passes to make oversight more manageable.

Collecting work

In an analog lesson, students typically submit worksheets or some sort of product made during their work time. The same must be true for a lesson that includes mobile devices. We'll discuss ways to make their work easier to evaluate. Our goal is to not only enable better oversight but also provide richer, faster feedback that improves its formative value.