Eliminating Digital Distraction in EdTech

Education Technology Insights | Monday, February 18, 2019

The use of technology in the classroom has always been a debatable issue. Many believe that the use of technology may lead to digital distraction. Not only the students but professionals are vulnerable to this problem. It is not wise to ban devices in schools as technology paves the way for smart education and ensures student engagement. A research by PEW mentioned that 73 percent of AL and NWP teachers believe that their students use mobile devices to complete the project. Hence, the schools have to ensure proper measure to resist digital distraction. A study was carried out at Michigan State University to watch the traits of digital distraction. This study revealed that students spent one-third of their time in nonacademic sites while an introductory psychology course, and interestingly, students were aware of the presence of the researchers.

The problem of digital distraction has instigated entrepreneurs to develop new technology. A web app, SelfControl was designed. This app blocks access to certain websites for a limited time period. Students are unable to get rid of the block even by deleting this app. Another app Pocket Points provides students reward for keeping their phones locked in class.

NetRef is a provider of solutions to teachers and administrators, and these solutions enable the administrators to stop students from getting digitally distracted. It monitors the use of the internet in the classroom. It empowers the schools to have a real-time vigilance over the class' use of the internet through web-based tools. It also enables the teachers to know whether the students are connected or not. The multiple rule options empower the teachers to block students' access to some specific websites. Teachers can form a whitelist, a list of sites that the students can access. The school authority will be able to receive detailed usage reports. The reports will help them to know how everyone is using the internet. The network-based design does not demand any special installation. The students will have to register, and the goal will be reached. NetRef allows controlling in classroom level without hampering the district rules. Digital distraction has to be addressed firmly as it hinders the proper implementation of technology. A lot of investment is yet to be done to resist students from being digitally distracted.

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