This means that students need to be made aware of the relevant pitfalls of multi-tasking, and they should attempt to actively control their digressive impulses during class time.
To help your students grasp (and hopefully embrace) this concept, feel free to share the video link below. In this short and interactive clip, I discuss how multi-tasking impacts learning:
#2 | BE AWARE OF CONTEXT DEPENDENCY
All new learning is inescapably tied to the context in which it is learned.
Unfortunately, this means that when students are thrust into a novel learning context (like a kitchen table or a crowded bedroom), their learning will likely suffer. This is because their brains will be forced to work overtime in the absence of the normal environmental cues and crutches they’ve come to rely on.
In the digital world, many students might find that they struggle to recall and access knowledge they were able to easily play with in class. By the same token, when they return to school in (hopefully) late-March, students may struggle to access some of the knowledge they acquired digitally during the prior month.
So, it may be productive to reassure your students that despite any struggles they experience during this atypical period, the information IS STILL in their brains! They have not forgotten or lost it in any way … they simply need to work at transferring the information across different contexts.
This means that once your students are back in the physical classroom, you might want to help them with the re-transition process by carving out time to facilitate spaced recall sessions.
As a bonus, once your students learn to freely access new knowledge across diverse contexts (i.e. digital + classroom), they will also find that it’s easier to access this same knowledge in novel contexts they encounter in the future (like, say, an exam room).
For more information about context dependent learning (including related classroom strategies), check out the recent interview I did with Jake Miller on his Educational Duct Tape Podcast:
#3 | PROLONGED STRESS KILLS MEMORY
In short bouts – typically brought on by novelty or challenge – stress can benefit learning by helping to reinforce deep, accessible memories.
However, once stress becomes chronic and prolonged (say, over the course of several days), it becomes incredibly difficult to form new memories. In other words, it becomes almost impossible for students to learn new material when they’re experiencing stress for several days.
Now, most students probably won’t be impacted by this ... but it's likely that some of your students will be personally affected by the coronavirus (and/or the related cultural upheaval), and as a result they might experience a continued stress-state for days (or perhaps weeks).