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Dealing with digital distractions in the classroom

Decorative image of Digital Distractions

We all know that there are an increasing number of students in our classrooms who struggle with focus – especially when a computer is in front of them with all manner of distractions that the internet offers. Well, why not do as I and many of our Exam.net teachers are starting to do ……  lock them in! 

Not literally, but metaphorically, of course…

Here are a few features of Exam.net that I use for classroom activities.

Keep the students on track

Even if I have a worksheet on paper rather than digitally, I can still keep the students in the exam window where they type their answers. The benefit of course, is that it’s much more difficult for them to ‘escape’ to other websites or social media.

And, in the monitoring view, I can see who’s up to what! 

Wake them up with a virtual prompt

If I see that a student has glazed over during my lesson, I can prompt them through the chat function in the exam window. This is often enough to get them going again, without me having to go over to their desk and single them out…

….unfortunately it doesn’t work so well if they are looking out the real window 🙄

Music for a calmer classroom

Listening to music during a lesson can help some of my students sit still and focus, so instead of adding the distraction of them sorting through their own playlists, I have taken to uploading music for them.

I have tried out various playlists including classical music, songs chosen by the students, and once I even uploaded whale-song during an informal quiz, which made students smile and helped those more anxious students to relax 😊

Don’t forget to remind them to bring headphones, of course.

That’s just a few ideas you can use in a classroom situation to help students focus on the task in hand – if you’ve discovered others, please let us know!

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