Tech Talk Roundtable 06-20 | Too Much of a Distraction?


It’s late at night.  You’ve just settled down to sleep.  Then you hear a vibration from the smartphone on your nightstand.  Can you resist the urge to check it? Smartphones and now smart watches are – or at least seem to be – an essential part of our life. We look at them frequently to check facebook, instagram, news, sports, weather, or to see what our best friend is eating right now.  But do the benefits of these devices outweigh the distractions? If we as adults have a trouble resisting the temptation to be on our devices, should we be concerned about our students as well? We’ll share what we think along with the thoughts of some amazing educators here in Asia.

Lessons Learned

Chris – “Fine” is not an acceptable answer if you are asking how someone is doing. If you are going to ask how someone is feeling, then really mean it. Really meaning it, don’t let a casual “Fine” end it, especially if you suspect that not everything is fine. If you are really interested in how a person is fairing then ask them. If not, a simple “Hello” will do.

Daniel – Reviewed DaVinci Resolve 16 – free NLE editor was released at NAB couple weeks ago with a new ‘Cut Page’ is starting to look familiar: FCPX

Dennis – Skype video sharing.  Share videos asynchronously. Must be under 1 minute.

Fun Fact

Apple Watch Statistics

Notes & Links

We asked this question on WeChat:

“With California and Ontario banning cell phones from schools…we wanted your thoughts on the topic.  Do the benefits of Smartphones/Smartwatches outweigh the distractions? Your thoughts? Any interesting articles, blog pieces that we should consider?”


Here is a condensed version of the rich responses we received.


Sam from Suzhou – Benefits – Health, stats, training, etc… opportunities to calendar classes and assignments.  It is quite distracting though, as kids (and adults) are often getting buzzed if they don’t properly manage there notification settings. All in all – I would lean to “distracting” for most students in most settings, but not so much to say they are not allowed or detrimental.


Mel Varga (Macao) – Banning anything is the easy way out. Teaching students, teachers and parents to manage a device is much better in the long run. This takes time and effort which most teachers, schools etc don’t have hence the decision to ban phones.


James (Shenzhen) – I say, don’t aim at just reversing the policy. but do look into how students can be educated on the use of technology, this includes what’s appropriate and not.


Matthew Kelsey (Guangzhou) – Research about the link between device use in class and student outcomes on exams/tests:   – that’s a randomized controlled trial, so methodologically pretty sound. However, the classroom setting there, as well as the outcomes measured, may differ from yours.

As far as teaching responsible device use, if that means teaching self control, then see   – it may inform your school’s definition of how to go about teaching responsible use and what it means.

“…teachers should have specific expectations about when device use is appropriate and when it’s not, especially before 11th grade.”

“Having a device should not be the default state.”


John Lancett (Xiamen) – …there would need to be a shift in schools to value the ethical and practical use of tools. And a “when and where” expectation would need to be set.


Richard Burkhill (Beijing) – You’re very welcome to look at the research I did into the why here – hope it’s helpful!


More SmartPhone Facts & Info…



About miles.mei

Multimedia Specialist

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