“No Wi-Fi, no phone… No fun.”
As parents, we know you only want what’s best for your children and banning phones and other devices can seem like a quick fix for their ineffective study habits. However, completely eliminating technology could do more harm to your child’s productivity and academic performance.
There are numerous hotly disputed views on technology and learning tools. But if you stick to the facts, it’s undeniable that developments in the Australian education landscape over the last five to ten years show that technology has an increasing role to play.
The impact of technology on student learning from K to 12 has also grown exponentially. We are now living in the age of digital transformation, where technology is more than just a tool. It’s now inextricably integrated into the process of experience of learning, as shown in the 2020 Growing Up Digital Australia: Phase 1 technical report. School and learning landscapes are seeing more prolific use of technology by students in their studies, offering a wide range of benefits to teaching and learning.
In this article, we are not going to talk about the pros and cons of technology or whether it should be present in your child’s learning. Let’s leave that to the politicians and educators to debate hotly in social forums. But the fact remains that effective learning in a technological age is a real-world challenge and families need to be prepared with an education strategy to encourage students to harness technological productivity advantages — while teaching them to self-regulate around a myriad of threats and distractions.
So let’s take a look at three effective study strategies that can help your child take advantage of technology, get more work done and remember information better. That way, they can access it even under some of the most high-pressure conditions of their young lives — the invigilated exam room.
3 Tips for Effective Study with Technology
At Kalibrate-Ed, our stance is clear — banning technology is not the solution. There are so many advantages to using technology, especially with AI and other resources that would enable classroom educators to focus on the elements of teaching that can only be delivered by a trained human with practical experience interacting with students. But there does need to be clearly articulated boundaries, protocols and decision-making tools demarcating constructive technology use from that which detracts from overall learning outcomes.
The key is to help children adopt healthy habits and ways of safe, responsible living in the digital space. Once they establish effective device discipline, the effects won’t be limited to productive studies. It will also reflect in their mental well-being, relationship building and other interpersonal skills.
Tip #1: Have clear boundaries and make sure they’re enforced.
Collaborate and set the rules with your child, whether it’s about their screen time or social media use. Set these boundaries together.
Enforcement doesn’t have to make you a dictator. When they’re involved in setting their limitations, they can take ownership and be their own guard. Let them learn how to take a step back from distraction and enforce these rules themselves.
You’ll need to lead by example — so have a transparent conversation about your own habits and use. Pretty soon, you’ll come across some natural differences in how various family members might acceptably use devices. Rather than shying away from this reality, use this as an opportunity to enlarge understanding and foster acceptance—openly walk them through the intentions (more on that in a moment). For example, if Dad is a senior engineering project manager—what are some of the ways he would acceptably use technology? What are some times or ways when he might need to use technology differently to a child in say, Year 7 or 8?
Tip #2: Be clear about intention.
What is the intention behind different forms of technology use? Understanding what motivates their choices and consumption patterns informs where you collectively draw the line as the family is a great way to clarify the appropriate intentionality of using technology. What is a good use of technology? What context is acceptable and is not?
Open the conversation and talk about it with your child. Having this kind of conversation also helps in teaching them to identify potential distractors, especially if they tend to have multiple tabs open or spend so much time on TikTok or YouTube.
Don’t just discuss this. Write it down. Research shows that patterns of behaviour are more readily developed when they’re tangible and visually available as a sub-conscious reminder, ideally with a repeatable action they have to take as a defined decision-making pathway. Even the Australian Education Research Organisation supports this based on their 2020 report, which showed that writing things down can enhance learning and enable students to think deeply and make decisions about what they jot down.
Tip #3: Remove the temptations.
Just like with weight loss, the more accessible chocolate cookies are, the more temptation there is to give in and grab a bite. But if you hide the cookies in a garbage bag in a freezer chest in the garage that’s locked and the key can only be accessed if you climb onto the roof… you’ll be far less tempted than if they’re sitting on the countertop.
There are so many tools available to keep your child’s technology distractions at bay. You can set up firewall restrictions on their browsers, turn all non-essential phone notifications off during focused times, or simply close unnecessary browser tabs. And they’re just the device-based barriers. There are many more psychological, cultural, intangible and other behavioural structures you can help your child place between them and non-productive use of their devices.
Your Child’s Unique Challenges Matter
Parents need to recognise the different kinds of unique challenges your child faces as they progress in high school and beyond. It’s not just about the use of technology — there are environmental, psychological and motivational aspects that also need to be considered. For example, studying at home is very different from studying in the school library or classroom (which we’ll go through in another article).
A lot of parents assume that when their child starts a new school year in Term 1, it’s just going to be a rinse and repeat of last year. Sure, they’re aware that it’s a higher year and their child is older, but they unconsciously miss considering its implications on their study effectiveness. How your child ended their previous year is actually their platform to acclimate to another, higher year. So, there’s a lot of new preparation and strategies to unlock your child’s potential this year taking into account the greater workload and increased consequences at stake.
That’s why at Kalibrate-Ed, we’re here to support you as you help them navigate these gradual transitions so they can adjust well and gain better academic results. If you need help laying out your child’s school year success plan or brainstorming ideas to ensure they’re focused this term, our education strategists are here to help.
Find a time and schedule a call by clicking below.