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Message from the President: Ryan Layton
Message from the President
My life changed one Christmas many years ago. I clearly remember being at my grandmother’s home on Christmas morning and seeing a large present under the tree. As I examined that box I had no way of knowing how it would influence my life for years to come.
The Nintendo became a part of who I was as a young boy in a small town.This piece of technology spoke to me and allowed me to create new connections with peers who had also developed this same interest. I became so enthralled by these digital worlds that at times I would not hear or recognize anything outside of my television. This was my first experience with being technologically distracted.
Digital connection continues to be an important part of many people’s lives today but, just as I learned many years ago, this can come with increased distractibility. A recognition of this fact has led to new regulations on the use of technology that have begun to permeate our society.Although these guidelines protect everything from etiquette to safety, the desire to maintain a constant connection can be very powerful.Even today I noticed a number of people texting and driving as well as checking their phone while in face-to-face conversation with someone else.
It is important to note that many students experience technological distraction, either consciously or unconsciously. This can originate from technology brought into the classroom from home or tools that are used for school projects, such asChromebooks, iPads, laptops and so forth.
As educators, we must have a good look at the use of technology in our classrooms and schools and ensure that any tools used in our classrooms are pedagogically sound and that students are actively engaged. I would encourage you all to promote the healthy use of technology through the following strategies:
1. Help students recognize when they are distracted and what they are doing while they are distracted.
2. Discuss common distracting tasks that are performed on technology(social media, screen/message checking and so forth).
3. Establish guidelines for the use of technology in the class/school, such as
a.ensuring that screens are off or closed during instruction,
b. dedicating times during the day to disconnect
c. providing technology-free zones.
4. Set an example of the proper use of technology in your own life.
5. Provide opportunities for students to increase attention by, for example, slowly increasing the amount of time students are required to focus on activities such as reading, writing or numeracy.
As we strive to both decrease distraction and increase attention, our schools will become more conducive to teaching and learning. In turn, better students will be able to carry those skills beyond the classroom ta better balance between staying digitallyconnected and being engagedin the concrete world around them.
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