Technology & Its Challenges During Homework Time
6 tips to best use technology for school related work.
My 13 year old son is doing his homework on an iPad (provided by the school). While doing that, he stays connected to his teachers and classmates via his smartphone, chatting and asking questions, and (how can I forget…) sharing memes.
My 10 years old daughter gets most of her school assignment on paper, but on occasions she needs to send her work via google docs, do a research for a class project on-line, or prepare a presentation to share with her class using Power Point - for those she uses the house computer.
My neighbor’s son is in high school, where I was told kids can bring their own laptop to take notes and do homework. When her son comes home from school, he locks himself in his room (typical teenage boy behavior, so I was told), listens to music on the iPad, and chats with his friends on his iPhone, while the laptop is open for the current homework assignment.
My kids and my neighbor’s kid are not alone, we see more and more students using technology for their homework. Student surveys show almost third are using a tablet for it, while like my son, 65% are using a laptop for homework.
To make it even more challenging, 39% of 14 year olds reported using a smartphone to complete their homework, 42% of 6th graders, while 57% of 8th graders did the same (based on a study from Teen Research Unlimited, done for the Verizon Foundation found).
Thereare Great Benefits for Technology When It Comes Homework
Many schools have an interface or learning management system, like Edmodo or seasaw, in place that allows parents to view homework assignments and their own child’s progress.
Having the option to rely on technology makes scheduling easier. With tools like Google calendar, and other calendar apps, a 7th grader can have all assignment in the calendar. And Google can remind him or her to study for a test. It can also show the list of projects scheduled for the following week, making it easier to plan ahead.
Plus, teachers are more accessible as many are on social media for the students to contact with and ask questions.
For parents, it’s an easy window to see the child’s progress and keep an eye on what’s going on at school. For the child, the ability to finish and submit homework electronically, lower the chances of forgetting to submit or lose homework sheets, that make a big difference — make the already stressful life a bit easier for both.
When Getting Down to Do Homework
In a study conducted by Dr. Larry Rosen, a psychology professor at California State University — Dominguez Hills, he surveyed high school students and asked them how often they switch from studying to doing something related to technology such as checking email, social media, texting, or even watching TV. Across all grade levels, 80% of students reported that they switch between studying and technology somewhat often to very often. Rosen calls this “Continuous Partial Attention”, meaning that most of the time, students are not focused on studying but rather are moving their attention back and forth between studying and various forms of technology.
Rosen explains, “Young people’s technology use is really about quelling anxiety…they don’t want to miss out or to be the last person to hear some news (or like or comment about a post online).” One of the major problems with texting and posting on social media sites while in class and/or studying, is that “they draw on the same mental resources — using language, parsing meaning — demanded by schoolwork”. Ultimately, he concludes, if we want students to learn and perform at their best, smartphones and other online distractions must be managed.
This, as you might expect, affected their grades, and quality of work. Students who were less distracted had higher GPAs than students who switched back and forth often and those who regularly check Facebook or text messages. Students who had strategies for studying also had higher GPAs per Rosen’s findings.
My Tips to Stay Focused
As you can see, technology use, while it has a lot to offer our kids in and out of school, has a cost. We just need to make sure we stay on top of it.
Boundaries - If we want our children to succeed at school and be able to utilize technology (and we all do), we need to set boundaries. Discuss with your child the appropriate time and place to use technology, and make sure they follow those rules. For example, when working on their huge social studies assignment, the TV and the phone with social media need to be off.
Tech breaks - Teach him or her to take technology breaks, in-order to separate doing homework from using technology. Go shoot some hoops, grab something to eat, ride the bike around the block, etc.
Tech free zone - If an assignment can be done with pen and paper, make sure technology is not in the room. Yes, they can listen to music but that’s it.
Turn off notifications while doing homework. The constant notifications are known to interfere with concentrating on the task in hand, and draw them into something they should not be doing.
Use parental control tools to block their usage on their devices when it’s time for homework.
Keep on talking - Lastly, keep the conversation going. Whether if it’s with reminding them of the need to take a technology break or refining the rules you set.
The school year is almost over, but it’s not too late to start making those changes, actually it’s even better. For those who are facing finals, it can improve their studying, and ultimately their final grades; and for the rest, it will give a head-start for the next school year, as it will already be part of their familiar routine.
Tali Orad, Founder & CEO of Screen / Founder of B.E.CPR, Inc
Entrepreneur and engineer, but most importantly, a mom to a son and two daughters, little angels that were spending way too much time on their electronic devices. That’s what inspired Tali to create Screen and reconnect with her family.
What about money?
I am a single woman with no job or income. How come I have to pay for internet for my child when the library is free and the books in the internet are there for the taking? I have a hard enough time buying food and paying the bills to keep my kid out of a shelter. When the school pays for my internet then I will agree if not then teachers should assign homework that all children can do and not make life so hard for the ones that don't have
Electronic homework encourages bad problem-solving.
Online homework doesn't require you to go through the process of working through a problem by hand, which is how most tests are performed. Also, electronic homework will often allow several attempts, which provides a cushion that is not present for tests. Paper homework encourages double-checking (an essential skill) and full attention.
No way Jose
I hate school with a passion coming from the bottom of my soul. School is a devil's creation. He is the reason god doesn't answer my prayers. Preach the devil my sirs. For all we know, homework will rip out our lungs before we get the chance to speak the good word. HWK iz dum
Not everyone has internet access.
Approximately 20% of American households do not have internet access. Forcing students to do homework online will put children living in these households at a disadvantage. This disadvantage will disproportionately effect the poor.
Students that are unable to do their homework will not recieve the full benefits of an education, and will likely get poorer grades. This will result in worse life outcomes.
One size fits all??
Everything is moving away from the basics. You need to learn the basics Also studies do show that the retention rate is lower for things learned on line. The fact is even tho the old fashioned way of reading and writing is better, the online inclusion is another aspect of teaching to a test. Yes, I am not going to deny that for some the online aspect of reading and assignments has shown great improvements for them in their educational progress. Unfortunately, this is also seen hand in hand with a decline in social interaction. I think this is a subject that is not one size fits all and that it should be an option but not mandated for every student especially in elementary school
Too darn distracting
When advertisement is a booming business it gets harder and harder to do work while connected on the grid without being distracted by some flashy ad etc. I agree that homework done online is more accessible, eco-friendly and so on. But what about disabling internet connection while typing out papers. For most assignments, excess information from the net is not needed unless you are plaigiarizing or doing a "web search". So in most cases, the PC, desktop, iPad etc. just needs to be taken offline for the duration of time needed for wok. When the assignment is done, you can go back online (its really fast) and submit it through whatever means.
No it should not.
Homework should not be done online unless absolutely necessary. I think doing it online leads to people looking up answers rather than trying to find it them self using the book or notes that they have at their disposal. I also think it would be unfair to anyone who does not have a computer.
No, homework shouldn't be done online.
Some assignments could be submitted online to teachers. However, I firmly believe in the importance of learning to write things out by hand. Nowadays, students aren't even being taught cursive. Writing by hand causes you to slow down and really think about what is being said. Typing is something we all need to learn, and it's good for some assignments, like reports, but writing by hand is an important process and skill.
Homework should not be done online.
Homework should not done online because it poses a number of technical difficulties. If students already attend a brick and mortar classroom, there is no reason they cannot submit a hard copy of their homework to the teacher. Often students and teachers will have technical problems downloading, viewing, or emailing assignments to each other. It is easier to stick to the old fashioned way.
A bit of both worlds, but I say no.
I feel my daughter is not getting the best out of school homework online.
On one hand, children should be taught how to use computers; but sometimes she doesn't do any handwritten work for weeks at a time. My daughter is getting dependent on the computer to correct her spellings and if she's asked to write anything, eg; a thank you note to family members, she complains that her hand and wrist ache after only a few words.
Surely a mixture of online homework where they can type their answers and a good old-fashioned worksheet or workbook where they need to write their answers would be better.
I know a lot of things are done on computers these days but a lot of things are still handwritten, so it makes sense to teach our children both ways....