Technology and Distractability
I’m writing this at parent teacher interviews. As an IT teacher, I’m not in as high demand as the English and homeroom teachers. Most of the students in my class are there because they want to be. So I have time.
I can mark work, prepare lessons and write articles.
When I do manage to talk to a parent, sometimes they’ll find out that I had a lot to do with implementing the iPad program at the school and invariably I’ll get the comment: “How do I stop him from wasting time on the iPad?”
There are a few options here, depending on how diplomatic I’m feeling. For the most part, these work both in the classroom and at home.
1. Not at all diplomatic: You’re the parent. You rule the roost. Put some rules in place that mean that he doesn’t do things he’s not meant to do.
2. Slightly more diplomatic: Have a conversation with your wayward child. What are they using the iPad for? How important are the various different activities? How much time does he realistically need to properly stay in touch with friends and have some leisure time? And then come up with a mutually negotiated timetable for class use versus leisure use. And of course, if the timetable isn’t upheld, you stop being diplomatic and go back to step 1.
3. Very diplomatic: If the work your son is required to do on his iPad isn’t challenging enough or hasn’t been explained properly, then a confused student is a student who ends up on social media. Tablets are incredibly powerful machines. With the proper motivation, students could be inspired to create a movie, make an interactive app or design a scavenger hunt. With no motivation, they can Google the answer, copy and paste work into a Keynote and hand in a Pages document called Blank 43 (which is probably very accurate).
The reality is somewhere between all of that. You are the parents, and you do have the ability to place restrictions on your child’s use of technology at home. The teachers at school are in a similar situation. Any restrictions placed on a student should be made in conjunction with the student, to limit the amount of resentment and rebellion involved.
Your job as parents is to be aware of what your child is meant to be doing and what they’re actually doing and modify the ratio between the two so that the work gets done.
Our job as teachers is to make sure that the work that they do on their tablet is valuable and stimulating and not just busy work that we don’t want to mark as much as they don’t want to do it.
Sorry, did that answer the question?