Technology provides virtual classroom access, digital learning programs, and other beneficial learning tools that distance learners can’t live without. However, the internet, games, and smartphones can be distracting. Here are some tips to aid with technological distractions when learning takes place in the home. While this list isn’t exhaustive, it’s a place to start thinking about building digital boundaries for distance learning.
Parents should set up a monitoring system that reflects the age and maturity of each child. This will vary per family, of course. But with homeschooling, it can be especially difficult to monitor every child throughout the day. A dedicated space for school could allow parents to keep an eye on all of their children at the same time. Also, distance learning means more time spent on the computer. This heightens the possibility that students may run into dangerous content or behavior. Content monitoring programs like LearnSafe detect at-risk behavior and cyberbullying. LearnSafe monitors activity even when the school-owned laptop is off-campus and offline. This allows adults to intervene before a dangerous situation escalates even if students are working at home.
Have Tech-Free Zones
This counts for both the children and the parents. Having places in the house where technology isn’t present can be beneficial. If a family has a space dedicated to school, they could make it a computer-only zone. All other technologies must be left at the door. Also, keeping bedrooms, bathrooms, and the kitchen/dining room technology-free will help parents keep an eye on how their children are using technology. It will also keep family social spaces technology-free.
School Zone Means Limited Phone Usage
If it’s time for school, parents should limit smartphone use. Some children find it easier to work with music, especially if parents are helping another child in the same room. If a child is using their phone productively, encourage this. If not, then discourage this by taking the phone away during school time. You could also require it be set on airplane mode. Airplane mode will keep the internet, calling, and messaging services off while any downloaded music will still be playable.
Allow for a Set Amount of Free Time Between Subjects
Setting the amount of time is key in this situation. These breaks can be beneficial, allowing students to breathe and take some time away from a subject. Studies have shown that taking breaks actually improves productivity. However, these breaks can go from a few minutes to hours if parents aren’t careful. Spread timed breaks throughout the school day, especially if students are stressed out about a certain subject.
Text by Elizabeth Slatsky