UC Advanced - issue #6


Student attention spans have hit a critical low; are Smart Schools the solution?

How to tackle distractions according to Martin McDermott, Business Development Manager and Education Specialist, at TP-Link.

Student concentration has been reported to be at an all-time low. With teachers now advised to present concepts in bitesize segments, and to shorten the length of lessons to aid pupils’ abilities to focus, it is estimated that the attention span of Generation Z is just eight seconds. Attributed in part to the rise in popularity of short-form social media content, young people’s brains are becoming addicted to the flood of dopamine a short video provides, and classrooms can’t keep up. Lessons now average between just 45 minutes to one hour. Can Smart Technologies Help? Smart technology solutions often focus on how they can make our home lives more efficient, but whether or not they can also make student’s lives more engaging – and lower long-term costs – is an important question. Blending Smart technologies, like interactive whiteboards and tablets, with traditional learning methods provides students with more personalised needs-based learning. When using these technologies to teach, more than one sense is tuned into the learning process through interactivity, so attention spans increase as a result. Some Smart technologies have already become essential to the learning environment. Craft-based subjects like art, design and technology require Smart equipment to educate students on textiles and materials; through the use of 3D printers. The use of this technology further develops the way students learn by making lessons practical and bespoke. However, this requires a powerful and stable network to ensure

such technologies can work effectively while keeping all students connected throughout their lessons across the site. This helps schools gain greater control over connected devices, make files and materials more readily accessible, keep learning consistent across platforms and centralised network management. There are a number of environmental factors that can impact a student’s learning, including room temperature. A classroom that is too warm may impact students’ attention spans as they focus on cooling down; if the environment is too cold their memory can be negatively impacted. Research suggests that a regular temperature increase of 2°C lowers a student’s academic achievement by up to 7% each year. It is also expected that disadvantaged students can experience up to three times as much of an impact than average. Utilising technology like smart thermostats can help schools avoid temperature-related issues by activating heating or cooling automatically, and give teachers and students control of the temperature of each classroom. In a recent Education Technology (EdTech) Survey, 63% of secondary schools agreed they experienced improved in- school learning by utilising the cloud as their primary file management system. By implementing Smart technologies, schools can increase accessibility to key study tools and revision documents, further enabling students to take more ownership of studies outside structured sessions. The use of the cloud as a file storage

Martin McDermott Business Development Manager, Education Specialist



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