I think a lot of what Rheingold says is still valid inside a classroom. The one topic that rang true with me was Attention. As an educator for the last 18 years, I’ve noticed a significant drop in attention rates in children. Now, I’ve never seen a class at 100% all the time, but a good 70/30 would probably make sense. Now, in a class of 20, it’s safe to say that I’m usually at 50/50. Reasons for inattention range from daydreaming to the inability to read. We are not a device driven school, our laptops are about 5 years old and show it, and the teacher technology isn’t always working, either. But, because I’m not doing handstands and cartwheels or singing and dancing (wait, I do do that in class from time to time), it’s difficult to hold their attention.
The article explains that students were so engaged with their laptops they missed the actual lecture. Kids in my district are not allowed to use their mobile devices in the classroom. I cannot begin to fathom the chaos that would ensue if they were allowed to do that. When they use classroom laptops or we take a trip to the computer lab, they’re always either: rushing through the work so they can play whatever games they can access with our network OR there are tabs open that shouldn’t be and they can switch quickly back and forth between them in case a teacher is walking by.
I really liked the three probes exercise (Rheingold, 2010). especially the one where the other students got to “feel” what it was like to be ignored when they were trying to instruct the class. There are wonderful teachable moments here. It’s easy to ignore a teacher when you’re playing on your laptop because you think you’re the only one… Except, EVERYONE thinks they’re the only one. And my other favorite was what I call “musical laptops”! Talk about an exercise in collaboration!
It’s important to take students’ heads out of the laptops and allow them to “marinate” in the sage on the stage every once in a while. I know that education has changed exponentially in the last 20 years, but there are tried and true methods throughout the span of time that suggest at the head of things, you need an educational leader.
Rheingold, H. (n.d.). Attention, and Other 21st-Century Social Media Literacies. Retrieved from https://er.educause.edu/articles/2010/10/attention-and-other- 21stcentury-social-media-literacies