Headteacher Magazine, guide to services and products for UK Schools
According to a recent Pew Research Center survey, 92% of teens report using the internet on a daily basis, with 24% claiming to be online “almost constantly.” The prevalence of digital media consumption among young people can have a significant impact on their education and study habits.
In another Pew study, while nearly three-quarters of high school teachers admit that digital research tools can have a positive impact on student performance, 87% also say that digital tech has resulted in a generation of teenagers who are far more easily distracted than teens of the past.
On the one hand, teachers acknowledge the fact that driven teens who are already exemplary students benefit from access to research tools. If they’re already interested in a subject, they now have the opportunity to not only explore the topic further, but also to develop their own research skills outside of the school environment. This helps prepare them for their future academic careers, where they’ll be expected to be more self-reliant.
That said, educators participating in the survey express concerns that teenagers may rely too greatly on digital research tools, neglecting other methods of inquiry. Additionally, the vast majority of teachers have noticed that constant computer and smartphone usage has significantly affected teens’ ability to remain focused on a task.
Parents can monitor their children’s digital consumption when they’re teenagers. After they graduate and move out, however, most teens will have to rely on themselves to cultivate strong educational habits. They must understand how to use their phones and computers to help improve their academic performance, rather than harm it. In the lower grades, teachers can also help to instill healthy digital research habits in students.
With this in mind, it’s important to provide younger students with additional resources that they can use to monitor and evaluate their own digital behavior independently. A product like Xooloo Digital Coach can be useful for students who aren’t naturally motivated to treat their digital devices as educational tools.
This product provides teenage users with a clear picture of their online habits, making it easier for them to identify and address areas where they may be devoting too much energy or attention. By having this information available in user-friendly and easily understandable format, they can modify their behavior accordingly. Doing so will prepare them for future academic years, and instill the right kind of autonomy over their digital behavior.
Students will continue to spend a good portion of their time on the internet. Rather than trying to stop this trend, educators and parents should work to promote the idea that digital devices can be powerful educational tools.
Article by Joe Oliveto
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