For all its benefits, our use of technology has introduced certain challenges into our modern lives, including an increased sense of distraction and information overload. Of course, technology in and of itself is not the problem. In order to keep from feeling overwhelmed, we must master technology, rather than allowing it to master us.

Many of the students who enter your classroom are “digital natives” quite accustomed to communicating and finding information online — and also quite attached to their technology devices. Fortunately, you as an instructor can play a role in raising these students’ awareness of how they can use this technology wisely.

During her closing keynote speech from Cengage Learning’s 18th Annual Course Technology Conference, Dr. Constance Staley of the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs provides a picture of the challenges — and opportunities — that today’s students face. She also offers ideas for dealing with distraction and multi-tasking in the classroom, stressing the importance of “training your brain to focus” in order to combat the allure of the many distractions that come their (and our) way.

Throughout the presentation, Dr. Staley provides a rich selection of innovative teaching strategies, activities, and approaches that encourage students to focus in class and also help you gain a better grasp of their level of involvement with the course. You’ll also learn how to harness the benefits of technology to produce students that are engaged with your course material, as well as better versed in the skills associated with critical thinking and information literacy.

Dr. Constance Staley is Director of the Freshman Seminar Program at the University of Colorado, and is the author of several Cengage Learning texts for college success courses, as well as 50 Ways to Leave Your Lectern, a book of proven exercises designed to stimulate thinking, discussion, and group interaction in the classroom. She delivers regional faculty development workshops across the United States and works with individual campuses to help them to define or refine their college success programs. To provide your students with additional suggestions for becoming more engaged learners, share our recent post Tips for Students: Staying Engaged in the Classroom, based on recommendations provided in Staley’s FOCUS on College Success, Third Edition

How do you address distraction in the classroom? What additional ways can you suggest for making technology an asset in the classroom? Share your ideas in the comments section below, or submit them via e-mail to [email protected]

Watch additional presentations from the 18th Annual Course Technology Conference — and more — at Cengage Learning’s YouTube channel.