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Can Mobile Apps Help Distracted Students Stay on Task?

Can Mobile Apps Help Distracted Students Stay on Task?

While most people associate the use of mobile phones and accompanying apps as a distraction for students, a new series of applications are being piloted that aim to keep students on track.

Called “self-monitoring” applications, several educators are trying them out in their classrooms, according to Chris Berdik of The Hechinger Report.

Through the applications, “[s]elf-monitoring students, who are often but not exclusively those with learning disabilities or attention disorders, work with teachers to set classroom comportment goals, such as coming to class prepared 75 percent of the time. Then they track their own progress,” the article says.

While self-monitoring has been a tool to keep distracted students on track for decades, researchers say mobile technology helps streamline the process and make it much easier for students to be involved in their own progress.

"The idea is to break up a big behavior challenge into manageable chunks. For some students, the prospect of focusing for an entire school day can seem daunting. Staying focused for the next two minutes, however, until your app checks in again to ask how it’s going, is much easier,” Berdik says.

Experts say such apps are useless, however, if they are not being used correctly. Despite the heavy reliance on technology, teachers must control how the technology can be effective.

The teacher must ask questions like " What should be rated? How often? How should feedback be dispensed? Should rewards be offered?” in order to best determine how to help students in need.

Read the full story.

Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor


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