Influencers connect with their audiences by creating content that people want to relate to. By nature, teachers are adept at creating connections across a variety of platforms to communicate with their students. Because teachers are so used to the necessity of engaging materials to ensure their students are actively listening, switching to delivering online engaging content is a breeze.
The effects of mobiles phones and other technology at school is a hotly debated topic in many countries. Some advocate for a complete ban to limit distractions, while others suggest using technology as a teaching tool. In a 2015 paper, we used a method — called a difference-in-difference strategy — as well as student data from England to investigate the effect of banning mobile phones on student performance. In this method, we compared schools that have had phones removed to similar schools with no phone bans. This allowed us to isolate the effect of mobiles phones on student performance from other factors that could affect performance.
We found banning mobile phones at school leads to an increase in student performance. Our results suggest that after schools banned mobile phones, test scores of students aged 16 increased by 6.4% of a standard deviation. This is equivalent to adding five days to the school year or an additional hour a week.
The effects were twice as large for low-achieving students, and we found no impact on high achieving students.
Our results suggest low-performing students are more likely to be distracted by the presence of mobile phones, while high performing students can focus with or without mobile phones.
Glastonbury Public Schools [ CT] will use remote learning during inclement weather instead of taking traditional snow days, NBC CT reported. Superintendent Alan Bookman said that the district decided to take advantage of this new option as much of schooling has migrated online during the pandemic. While some students aren't loving the change, Bookman said that school days during the winter tend to be more valuable than those in June, when snow days are usually made up for[.]
Even the best technology can't eliminate the inherent problems of virtual schooling. Several key technological stumbling blocks have persisted in keeping remote learning from meeting its full potential:
1. The needs of IT departments and students can be at odds.
2. Existing tech can't just be grafted onto remote learning.
3. The digital divide looms over everything.
Image: Microsoft Education
What millions of students around the world are experiencing right now on Zoom and other conferencing platforms is not online learning, but rather remote learning. Susan Grajek of Educause, the association of education technologists, distinguishes remote learning from “well-considered, durable online learning.” Remote learning, she said, is a “quick, ad hoc, low-fidelity mitigation strategy.”
Image: Microsoft Educational Blog
“We can't just move what we did, traditional bricks and mortar schools, online. We have to think about what are the unique needs that we have of each family. What are the unique needs that are time dependent in these uncertain times? And what are unique affordances of being able to do our work online?”
Source: Harvard Graduate School of Education
“The presence of one’s smartphone enables on-demand access to information, entertainment... and more,” the study concludes. “However, our research suggests that these benefits—and the dependence they engender—may come at a cognitive cost.” A bevy of other studies, meanwhile, clearly indicate that environments or activities that divide our attention can hurt us when taking tests and especially when encoding new learning. Taken together, there’s increasing evidence that the presence and usage of cell phone in the classroom—while not necessarily detrimental in all contexts—should be carefully monitored, intentionally structured, and even restricted in some cases.
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This section is used to share resources I find interesting. The opinions expressed in this section do not necessarily reflect my views. Most of the highlights are direct quotes from the original sources.
© 2019 Phu Vu