A college student looks bored, but there are ways of battling student distraction in the face of increased technology.

5 tips for battling student distraction

Personalized learning and gamification are a couple strategies used in battling student distraction

Battling student distraction is a real–if not new–thing. While it’s always been challenging to ensure students are engaged in learning, the increased use of laptops and smartphones offers more opportunities to veer off-task. But increased classroom technology also offers more opportunities for instructors to keep students engaged.

A 2018 survey found 87 percent of people think students are distracted now more than ever before. Of professors using technology in the classroom, 85 percent are hoping to improve engagement, and 51 percent say their biggest teaching challenge is students not paying attention or participating in class.

Read more: Dealing with digital distractions in the classroom

But instead of blaming technology as the culprit, what if educators could turn technology distractions into learning opportunities? That’s exactly what some forward-thinking professors are doing as they’re battling student distraction.

This resource from Top Hat offers some insights into battling student distraction:

1. Personalize learning: Allow students to drive the personalization of their learning by choosing their assignment topics, pursuing curiosities sparked in class, and sharing and collaborating with their peers. When technology is applied, these projects become more meaningful because they can be shared with a wider audience through social media, video content, blogs and podcasts.

2. Play the game: Studies show the gamification of course content has a positive impact on both engagement and learning by using competitive scenarios and the distribution of points or rewards. To ensure the methods are also effective, they must be designed to support course learning objectives.

3. Teach the future: Students are training for jobs and technologies that don’t yet exist and in this digital world, technology is a life skill. According to the 2017 NMC Horizon Report, being digitally literate is about generating a deeper understanding of the digital environment, enabling intuitive adaptation to new contexts and co-creation with others.

Laura Ascione