Putting Boundaries in Place to Support Learning and Teaching at Dominic College

The phenomenal growth of technology and its role in education for 21st century teaching and learning, has been very extraordinary. Dominic College has a philosophy that technology has enabled learning ‘anywhere and anytime’. Our Year 5-10 Lap top program has embraced this context. However, the exponential explosion of technology is also very challenging.

Through diverse sources of technology, students are faced with more ‘distractions’ than ever before and the capacity for students to maintain focus and concentration, manage impulsivity and avoid distraction is part of the challenges schools face.

Schools have the key role to help support students to develop as successful learners. General research highlights that when people carry phones with them or wear a smartwatch, they display lower levels of concentration due to: constant interruptions; an increased fear of missing out; reduced memory; distorted views on reality and increased levels of stress.

A range of recent research has also found that the mere presence of a phone or smartwatch, either in a pocket or on a desk, is enough to reduce cognitive capacity.

As part of Dominic College’s commitment to ensure the best learning outcomes for all students, a decision has been made to prohibit ‘smartwatches’ being worn by students during school hours.

The Dominic K-10 Teaching and Learning program is underpinned by a philosophy of building positive relationships with students and creating high impact, active learning. We need to teach sustained focus, behaviours of discipline and offer a huge range of activities for engagement.

Like mobile phones, the interruption of ‘smartwatches’ during important class time does not allow students to remain focused on their learning, nor to be fully present and engaged in important classroom activities. Alerts, notifications, calls and messages, as well as online activity, can be a distraction from learning opportunities, whether they are from your child’s device or those of students around them.

Watches and 'Fitbits' that do not send or receive calls or messages, and without internet connectivity can be worn by students during the school day.

There is much to consider about the pros and cons of smartwatches and there are ready examples: https://www.thetechedvocate.org/are-smartwatches-a-smart-choice-for-school/

Dominic College’s decision to prohibit the wearing of smartwatches is based on constructing an environment to optimize focus and concentration and hence maximize student learning.

Beth Gilligan & Stephen Casni

Dominic College Principal and Deputy Principal