- Technology's influx into classrooms has bred concern among some regarding the potential distractions that can come alongside its benefits. But there are also a variety of tools that can help alleviate that concern, according to EdTech: Focus on K-12.
- To prevent cheating, for example, device management tools allow educators to lock students' screens to a specific window, and keeping activities focused on school-issued devices can also prevent students from being distracted by smartphones or any other devices they bring with them from home.
- Beyond the classroom, technology can also help alleviate the burden of tracking attendance with logging systems like "tardy kiosks," which allow students arriving late to check in and receive a "tardy pass" with their teacher's name and the time they checked in.
Tech can be a powerful educational tool, but it also requires educators to teach students how to use it responsibly. Learning how to manage screen time — and time in general — is a must, as distractions are abundant in the digital world. Fortunately, the time it can also help save educators on a number of fronts, particularly with administrative tasks like taking attendance or calculating grades, can be used in part to instill those lessons.
Along with learning to utilize tech efficiently and effectively, the last few years have seen more attention devoted to teaching students to use it ethically, as well. Digital citizenship lessons have largely focused on preventing cyberbullying and keeping students safe — effectively providing a list of do's and don'ts. But as ISTE CEO Richard Culatta emphasized at this year's ISTE conference, those efforts must focus on engaging in respectful discourse, as the anonymity provided by the nature of the internet often leads to anything but that, and developing digital literacy amid the rise of issues like "fake news."
Finding ways to weave these lessons into curriculum can prove to be a challenge at first, but will ultimately improve students' futures in the long run, making it a worthwhile investment for administrators planning professional development opportunities.