As school-issued devices increase in K-12 education, during a time of remote and hybrid learning, student distractions provided by devices are increasing as well. School issued devices were implemented to conduct instruction in a remote setting to help to stop the spread of COIVD-19. While some schools have already been using school-issued devices in some form before the pandemic, the push for edtech has been rapidly increasing as a result of the benefits technology provides during this time. Concerns surrounding student distractions are major and valid. While school-issued devices provide much support to teachers, students, and parents they also provide an extra layer of distractions that students did not have in the physical classroom. During remote and hybrid learning educators are searching for data that explains what students are getting distracted by and how they can defeat student distractions.

7 Distractions on School-Issued Devices

The access that the internet provides is far and large. While the mass of information that can be obtained from the internet is a benefit for students, this also becomes a disadvantage in the sense that students have less incentive to learn the information when it is right at their fingertips. The internet provides distractions much more than just information. 7 common distractions that teacher can find student engaging in online are:

1. Online Games 

Students have access to all sorts of online gaming with their devices. Fortnite specifically is a huge concern for K-12 students because of the popularity in the last few years. School-issued devices like iPads also run the risk of app downloads that can distract students during class time. 

2. Social Media

This generation of students spends most of their time and life on social media apps like Instagram, Twitter, and Tik Tok. This is a huge distraction that can be not only provided by school-issued devices but also devices students have at home as well. 

3. Communication with Friends

Now that students are outside of the classroom, controlling the number of side conversations and attention span of students is much more difficult because of the availability that messaging online provides. Students are able to have side conversations privately with their devices that allows them to stay distracted during class time. 

4. Work for Other Classes

When students feel like they don’t need to pay attention during a lesson, they might take that time to work on other work for classes. While this may seem somewhat productive, students are missing out on valuable information and application tactics that the current lesson can provide to them. This tactic is counter-intuitive because students lose out on other information that they will need later on to complete assignments, by working on other assignments during class.

5. YouTube videos/entertainment

Another huge distraction is streaming services. Youtube, Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, etc. are major concerns for student distractions. Because all of these services are compatible and available with school-issued devices, they are often used as forms of entertainment to distract students from class. Now that students cannot be thoroughly monitored, and in the comfort of their own homes, the incentive to become distracted by these services is much more enticing.

6. Online Shopping

Students are now able to browse their favorites stores at their fingertips. Sites like Amazon, Etsy, and Poshmark are all ways that students spend time finding the latest trends. 

7. Unrelated Learning

Other contents like blogs, articles, online books, etc. all contribute to the concern for student distractions in the classroom. While these pieces of content are engaging and informative in itself, it takes away from the learning done in the classroom.

School-issued devices provide students and teachers with lots of benefits and detriments combined. While they help to conduct learning and create face-to-face contact, they also present many extra distractions that would not be an issue in the physical classroom. Educators are searching for the right tactics to overcome the student engagement crisis and defeat student distractions in 2021.

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