Less is More: “One Life” vs. “Two Lives” Perspective

Many of us have heard the phrase “less is more”, and from a digital perspective, that phrase couldn’t be truer.  In my opinion, Ohler’s notion of the “one life” perspective certainly outweighs the “two lives” perspective.

less than

Photo Credit: Leo Reynolds via Compfight cc

After reading Ohler’s article about our digital kids living either two lives or one, I was able to better understand my own philosophy of technology in the classroom.  I found myself leaning heavily towards the “one life” perspective through reflecting on how my students use technology in the classroom.

However, I can also see how some people may believe in the “two lives” perspective.  Let me explain… The most common reason I have heard about/read about from reluctant teachers as to why technology is limited in their classrooms is because they believe their students become too distracted and unable to focus on lessons and assignments.  With students presumably unable to focus, the belief is that the students will perform poorly at school, as this video suggests:

When the “distraction” reason for limiting technology in the classroom is brought to the table, I find myself immediately thinking:

  1. Does this teacher, personally use digital media as a part of their everyday life?
  2. Is this teacher aware of the benefits to integrating technology in the classroom?
  3. Is this teacher aware of the numerous technological tools and programs that could supplement their instruction?
  4. Does this teacher believe in setting up routines and procedures with their students?

As you can tell, a lot comes to mind when thinking about why a teacher may be reluctant.  Because I believe in the “one life” perspective, I find myself thinking about the ways in which I can better inform these teachers of the “two lives” perspective.  To me, the most important, or rather foundational part to integrating technology in the classroom is: classroom management.  In the past, I have outlined routines and procedures for my students when it comes to using technology in the classroom.  However, over the past couple years or so, I have also learned the importance of involving students in this process.  Co-constructing criteria with students gives them a sense of ownership and accountability.  Having discussions with students around the expectations of using technology in the class will help them better understand their job when doing so.  A co-constructing conversation may sound like the teacher asking students these questions:

  1. When is it appropriate to use your device at school?
  2. When you’re using your device for a lesson or task, what does the room look and sound like?
  3. What are some important things to remember when you bring your device to school?
  4. What are some important things to remember when you use your device at school?

From there, the students along with the teachers guidance can begin to categorize the responses and create a set of expectations for the year.  These expectations should then be posted somewhere in the room so that the students can refer to them when needed.  In addition to that, because the teacher prompts the students to think about their use of technology in school and encourages the participation of the students, there will likely be more buy-in to follow the expectations than if the teacher just simply outlined the expectations on their own and gave them to the students.  Through the construction of these expectations, I believe that the “one life” perspective can begin to unfold in the classroom, and in the school as a whole.


4 thoughts on “Less is More: “One Life” vs. “Two Lives” Perspective

  1. justinestephanson says:

    Thanks for sharing Branelle! I think if there is no purpose or reason for using technology in the classroom students could become distracted. As you mentioned if you know the benefits of technology and you are prepared it leads to more success. Technology can help enrich learning experiences. I agree that co-constructing criteria is very important! When students have a voice and can take ownership I find it leads a great learning experiences for everyone and students take pride in their work. It also allows students to learn about responsibilities. Great post Branelle!


  2. Kristina Boutilier says:

    Great post Branelle. I agree with you about the importance of classroom management being essential when integrating technology and implementing BYOT in your classroom. I wish more teachers would realize the importance of integrating technology and using the amazing power it can have with students starting at a younger age. I think if we did this, there would be a smoother transition as students grow older and hopefully they would use tech to enhance/transform learning, make meaningful connections, and for inquiry.


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