Using technology to distract students from distraction

Effectively using devices in the classroom, Einhorn said, is not simply providing existing class material on a digital device. Just moving a PowerPoint presentation from a projector screen onto an iPad will not do the trick.

It requires a bigger change than that, in both content and attitudes. “Real transformation happens when you really shift to more active learning,” Einhorn said.

Yaros said he has been working on finding the right ways to shift his lectures in that direction for three years. As he implements his MEEC this semester, he is continuing to research both what material students best respond to and at what point to introduce that element during a class period.

It’s why he saves his quizzes or a video for the middle of the lecture, rather than starting the class “with a bang, then sliding in to PowerPoint” or letting students zone out until the end.

“It’s thinking every 10 minutes about what you are doing,” Yaros said. “What could you be doing to maximize how people psychologically engage with information? In my opinion, if you don’t do that, these devices, they are a distraction.”

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