By Teachers, For Teachers
Technology has taken over the world, and not only are children using digital devices at home, but now our schools have used classroom management to fully implement them as well. There’s no denying that technology is an amazing and useful tool; however, children are spending a lot more hours per day on these technological devices than ever before. To help children learn that not everything they do has to be on a digital device, I suggest trying some classroom management to unplug every day or least a few times per week. Here are a few unexpected classroom management benefits children will have from an unplugged classroom, as well as ideas for how to make it work.
Technology is making children less social. In fact, according to research, today’s generation is more dependent upon electronics and less dependent upon social interaction. Without face-to-face interaction, children won’t develop the necessary social cues needed to interact with other humans. Students today base their friendships upon how many “Followers” they have on social media, not friendships that they have in the real world.
When you unplug from technology in the classroom you’re essentially forcing face-to-face interaction among the students. Try to organize cooperative learning groups so that your students can learn how to communicate with one another better. The more social interaction they have without using technology, the better.
While there may be a lot of apps that claim they can help you support your students’ different learning styles, using technology isn’t always the best approach to reach all of your learners. Someone with an auditory learning style may prefer listening to others speak or engaging in peer conversations. Other students with a more kinesthetic learning style may prefer a more hands-on, tactile experience to help them learn.
Try incorporating various methods to your teaching, and don’t just utilize technology for the sake of using it. Give your students a variety of different experiences that range across the board to ensure that you’re supporting all learning styles in your classroom.
Another unexpected benefit of unplugging from technology is that it encourages students to use their imagination and really think outside of the box. It’s easy to just “Google” or search “Pinterest” for an idea, but if you don’t have access to technology, then it forces you to use your critical thinking skills.
Do you remember that place that you went to in school that had thousands of books to help you with your research project? Well guess what? They are called libraries and schools still have them! The next time you have students do a research project allow them to use the library, or find someone that is an expert on the topic to talk to. Have students use their minds to help them in their studies not just technology.
If you’re like most people, you can agree that your morning routine is usually spent using technology in some capacity or another. While we continue to use our devices daily, researchers are only beginning to understand the role that technology is having on our mental and physical health. We have all witnessed the power that technology can have on our minds, and yet we still continue to stay plugged in. Depression, eye strain, and memory problems are just some of the health concerns that technology is responsible for. By unplugging we can help calm our students’ minds.
Try challenging students to unplug from technology for one day to see how they feel. Make this challenge an assignment where students have to journal the effects that unplugging is physically and mentally having on them. This technology detox can show students how unplugging can help calm their active minds.
One of the many benefits of unplugging from technology is that it helps us be mindful and live in the here and now. Technology is distracting, and most of us are like Pavlov’s dog, where when we hear the ding of our phones, our immediate reaction is to check it. To help students learn to focus on the moment they are in, challenge them to a day free of technology. On this device-free day, teach students how to be mindful and live in the moment. As you may know, mindfulness is becoming quite popular since the rise in technology use: So much so that the new Apple iWatch has a feature called “Breathe” to help you remember to take a moment to just listen to your breath. Without the help of technology, have students check in with themselves throughout the day to help them learn to be in the moment. By doing so, they may just learn to put their technology down every once in a while.
Do you have do a technology detox in your classroom? What classroom management activities do you like to do that are device free? Please share your thoughts, ideas, and comments in the section below, we’d love to hear from you.
Janelle Cox is an education writer who uses her experience and knowledge to provide creative and original writing in the field of education. Janelle holds Masters of Science in Education from the State University of New York College at Buffalo. She is a contributing writer to TeachHUB.com, TeachHUB Magazine, and Hey Teach. She was also the Elementary Education Expert for About.com for five years. You can follow her on Twitter @empoweringed, on Facebook at Empowering K12 Educators, or contact her at Janellecox78@yahoo.com.