Students today face a reality where constant access to digital tools has created a surgence of tech addiction. As students enter school equipped with smart phones, tablets, and laptops, anxiety can form when they are unable to use devices to connect to social media, text friends and family, or be able to quickly look up referential needs. Educators understand that technology in the classroom can be beneficial to the learning process, but they must learn how to balance these positive aspects with ways to help students stave off tech addiction. Teachers can employ the following tips in their classrooms to help students:
Assignments that require students to work together can foster interactions with others. Create lessons that don’t require tech, but rather discussion, oral presentations, group think and writing, and hands on exploration of the topic. When students leave the classroom, they will turn to online resources, but during these group work activities they will be each other’s resources.
ASSIGNMENTS BEYOND THE SCREEN
Students often do their research and studying via screens, through apps, learning programs, or the internet. Try crafting assignments that require them to seek out professionals and conduct interviews in person by visiting businesses, museums or cultural centers. They require a little more leg work and help from parents, but using the community as a learning environment keeps students from relying too much on tech.
SHOW STUDENTS HOW TO USE TECH POSITIVELY
It’s going to be difficult to expect students to completely unplug. Teachers can help guide students to use their tech appropriately to ease stress and anxiety. Model how to create written reflection journal notes to track their progress in class, show them apps for meditation to find ways to be more mindful, and show them how to use the various educational apps as tools to help their studies.
TALK ABOUT TECH ADDICTION
Often times, students don’t even realize they are suffering from a tech addiction. Teachers have the opportunity to take time to ask students how they feel when it comes to constantly checking their devices. They can lead students in writing exercises where students can discuss their feelings and try to identify the root of their need to be on their devices. It’s not until students realize they have an issue to work on that they will be ready to battle and improve themselves.
ASSIGN REAL BOOKS
Finally, another way to help stave off the problems of tech addiction is to focus on an analogue classroom. Assign reading from textbooks and novels. Ask them to write in notebooks. Use pens and pencils. Leave the tech out of the classroom and use this time as a chance to cleanse from tech addiction, even if only for part of the day. Seeing they can learn and make progress without tech will go a long way in helping them realize they don’t always need to be on their devices.
What are some ways you handle tech addiction in your classroom?