As a peripatetic teacher of school choirs, voice and piano I have had several incidents with technology over the last couple of years. The school I work at has a strict BYOD policy which ensures all students bring their devices (but not their own phones, only ipads or laptops set up to the school network) into every class. This has greatly helped with practices such as recording vocal exercises to do, looking up pianists on youtube and finding pieces that they would like to learn. However I find that there are often restrictions over what they can look up and what the schools’ firewalls prevent from accessing. Far from increasing classroom management this tends to waste time, and prevent engagement in the lesson
Much time is wasted with students moving from task to task. If 15 minutes a day can be regained by the teacher through organisation and planning then this leads to 45 hours a year extra time. (Finley, 2017). Technology introduced into the classroom can be a double edged sword providing opportunities for learning and deeper engagement, but at the same time can be a time-waster and seen by some as a distraction. A study conducted in a Singaporean school in 2001 found that in order for technology to be an effective tool in the classroom there needs to be a number of factors, including student helpers, tech assistants and clear instructional activities ensuring that all students are engaging in the lesson and that time is not being wasted. Professional development in the fields of technology and pedagogy were also stated as being important factors (Lim, Pek & Chai, 2005). I think that the focus should be on creating conducive environments where the teacher can help facilitate learning through group work and student research aided by technology.
I think that the issue of BYOD technology leading to distraction has been in part an overblown reaction to the new BYOD phenomenon rather than a balanced position on it. Allowing students to use their own tech in classes has been seen to help with classroom management issues (Johnson, 2012) There is also evidence that letting students engage with technology recreationally through gamification leads to an increase in reading and writing skills, collaborative and social skills through online games and can help close the digital divide. I think that the emphasis should be less on banning devices as they lead to distraction but on how to help students interact with technology in a way that is both educational and enjoyable leading to a higher level of engagement and achievement.
Finley, T (2017) Mastering Classroom Transitions. Retrieved from https://www.edutopia.org/article/mastering-transitions-todd-finley
Johnson, D (2012) Managing Disruptive Technologies in the Classroom. In D Johnson (Ed.), The Classroom Teacher’s Technology Survival Guide (pp137-148) Retrieved from http://ebookcentral.proquest.com/lib/csuau/detail.action?docID=817517
Lim, C. P., Pek, M. S., & Chai, C. S. (2005). Classroom management issues in information and communication technology (ICT)-mediated learning environments: back to the basics,Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia. 14.4 (Winter 2005), p. 391. Retrieved from http://go.galegroup.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/ps/i.do?id=GALE%7CA142339826&v=2.1&u=csu_au&it=r&p=EAIM&sw=w&authCount=1