‘Managing students’ technology’ equals ‘forcing them to sit and listen’

Calvin Hennick wrote:

NetSupport’s Kingsley is more skeptical. He laughs at the notion that students will studiously ignore text messages and social media updates from their friends and simply put their devices down when the ­teacher is talking. “Have you been in a classroom?” he asks. “If only the kids would do that.”

“The level of temptation, whether it’s Facebook status updates or chatting with other students, there will always be students doing that,” Kingsley adds. “If you tell them to go to a particular website, how do you know all 30 kids are on that website? You don’t, unless you get up and walk around and check, and then you’ve just wasted 10 minutes of class time. The whole point of this [screen monitoring/blocking] software is to free up time for teachers to do what they do best, which is to teach.”

via http://t.co/HkDelF2ZFP

In other words, teaching = teacher talking while kids are forced to sit and listen.

You could view walking around and seeing what is on kids’ screens as wasting 10 minutes of class time (10 minutes? really?). Or you could view it as what teachers already should be doing.

Another technological ‘solution’ to what ultimately is a learning-teaching issue…

4 Responses to “‘Managing students’ technology’ equals ‘forcing them to sit and listen’”

  1. This is a common complaint of laptop programs like ours: How can I continue to lecture/PowerPoint these classes if I also have to walk around to see what my students are doing?

    It boggles my mind how often I hear this and how resistant some teachers are to leaving the perceived safety of their desk/podium in order to physically approach their students.

  2. Great post Scott.

    In my humble opinion, when you try to use a technological solution to address a behavior issue, at best you will get mere compliance, at worst the technological ‘solution’ will become an impediment to learning.

    I think I’d be more interested in what else is happening in the classroom when students are ‘distracted’ by technology.
    I think Alfie Kohn said something to the effect of “If students are off task, my first question is ‘what’s the task?’”.

  3. I couldn’t agree more. I’ve seen this exact scenario year after year with our computer lab. It boils down to setting expectations and having good classroom management. Students “misbehaving” with technology is a classroom management issue, not a student issue at all. If teachers monitor what students are doing, the issue is solved. No more broken keyboards, no inappropriate content, and no off task behavior. More learning can take place when students are directed and focused. That also means no one-on-one conferencing in the back with students or checking email, sorry teachers.

  4. I am going to use this original article for a required reflection in the next graduate class I teach. This is an absolutely vital conversation for every teacher to have, whether or not their classroom is one to one yet or not.

    Thanks so much for sharing this including your commentary.

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