7 Ways To Keep Students Focused While Using Technology

When used effectively, technology plays an important role in enhancing the learning process. Teachers can use digital devices to present supplemental material for lessons or to encourage students to take a more hands-on role in their education.

Even with all of the benefits of technology in the classroom, however, educators must use caution to ensure that students are focusing on the lesson and not giving in to distractions. Here are seven ways that teachers can use to help students pay more attention when using technology:

1. Encourage direct engagement.

One of the benefits of technology is that students can interact with and learn from lesson materials directly rather than waiting for a passive transfer of information. Students can engage with lessons by reading class notes, watching related videos, or communicating with their peers. This hands-on approach to learning helps recall of key ideas.

2. Ask for more participation.

Technology has made in-class participation easier than ever. With classroom and teaching tools like iClickers and desktop sharing, teachers can encourage even students who do not normally participate in class discussions to share their opinions. Rather than distracting students, used this way, technology gives them a reason to focus and think deeply about what they are learning.

3. Delve into a topic.

Students learn better when they are more engaged with the material and are encouraged to make it their own. Teachers can assign students to complete technology-based projects, including making presentations, analyzing data, and sharing ideas. Technology in the classroom makes this type of learning both easier and faster.

4. Make use of online resources in class.

The great thing about the internet is that there is a whole host of information out there about almost everything. Teachers can find webinars, videos, podcasts, photos, and industry information about topics that students are interested in and present them in class.

5. Assign research topics.

Have students prepare for an upcoming lesson or activity by allowing them to research the topic beforehand using the internet. Teachers can take the opportunity to discuss where to find reliable information online as well as how to synthesize that information into a usable format. When presenting the lesson in class, the students will be more prepared to answer questions and delve deeply into the topic.

6. Use real-world problems.

Older students, especially, appreciate learning about real-life situations and current events. Instructors can encourage students to use technology to research current stock market trends, for example, or to find out information about political campaigns. This knowledge can then be applied to topics that students are studying in class to show them how what they are learning in school has use in a broader context.

7. Review what they’ve learned.

Technology can also be used as a way that students can review and remember what they have learned over the course of a semester or other period of time. Students may record a video of themselves, for example, listing key facts about a particular subject or explaining that topic to other students. The recitation of these ideas helps students to process what they have learned.

Of course, technology only enhances what excellent instructors do already by giving students increased access to learning materials that support what is happening in the classroom. When technology takes this supporting role in education, students are not distracted, but rather intensely focused on what they are learning.

How have you used technology in your classroom to increase learning? What strategies do you employ to make sure that students are paying attention when technology is being used?

Alexia Mccormick is a writer for Netop. When Alexia is not writing, she enjoys sewing & learning about advancements in education.


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  8. Neil

    May 24, 2012 at 7:38 am

    SlateState has been developed to help combat distractions and support teachers in the classroom where devices are in use. A simple teacher dashboard allows teachers see at a glance whether students are on task.

  9. Lorena Beverley

    July 9, 2012 at 10:08 am

    The 7 ways to keep students focused that you listed are great. I find it really hard to have students stick to their task online and not get distracted by their FB or Twitter accounts. Educators need to empower students to take ownership of their learning. One way of doing that is by letting students choose a topic of their interest to research, set specific goals and deadlines, and be there for additional support.

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