This Thing Called Distraction: COD Pilot

This Thing Called Distraction: COD Pilot

Without question, the number one concern leading into our Combine our Devices pilot was distraction. What might surprise you is that students expressed this concern just as much if not more than educators.

And we need to be hearing this and thinking about this.

It is way too easy to say students are hungry for, desire, and live technology. If you interact on social media with educators or attend conferences, it is almost a given and difficult for educators to acknowledge there might be a counter story.

But if we can come to grips with the fact that there are students concerned, very concerned, about the distractibility of technology then we can move forward with designing experiences that foster dispositions that will serve a lifetime.

During the pilot so far, the fear that distraction will be the classroom norm has not come to fruition from my perspective as well as my student leadership team. While the reason for this are vast, there are three themes that have emerged that were designed with intent to address distraction.

  1. (re)Building Community
  2. Creating Engaging Experiences
  3. Designing with Contemplative Experiences

Designing Contemplative Experiences

(re)Building community and creating engaging experiences are obvious, one of the most important aspects in the classroom in establishing contemplative experiences. Take a look at the following photo. What are your reactions?

Contemplative Experiences

For me, this is designing contemplative experiences and number of things stand out as quite positive:

  • intentionally designing disconnect moments
  • reinforcing the value of the devices even with the disconnect time
  • reflecting with learners after the disconnect time: how was the experience without the device, should we have used devices, how could we have used the devices, what are your recommendation for future experiences like this, etc.

These moments of pause deepen the overall learning environment, foster device independence, and build thoughtfulness in choosing whether to use a device or not.

Contemplative Pedagogy Ideas

This is just one example but it doesn’t need to be a “tech free day”. It can be any number of ideas.

  • Device pauses (i.e. close your device for this part)
  • Balance of Openness: non-use, complete freedom use, and strategic uses
  • Writing, Sketching, Drawing, and Coloring
  • Blended experiences (i.e. sketch ideas and then digitally capture)
  • Device free discussions
  • and many more

How are you designing for contemplation and thoughtfulness?


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