How to Avoid Technology Burnout

The estimated reading time for this post is 2 minutes

(This post is derived from our Questions segment of Live Show #3, discussion starts at 0:45 seconds)

Here’s a great question from one of the people who reads our blog:

how can we combat natural burnout with technology?

Wes: When I heard the question I thought of a teacher in a classroom with one to one Chromebooks with every student staring at the screen. At a certain point students are getting fatigued, and maybe they are complaining.  Maybe the teacher is not feeling that the instruction is effective and engaging. My thought is that – if the online or blended resources are very valuable and you want to sustain a student’s attention – you need to regularly build in some activities which engage students in talking to each other, actually standing up and facing each other. You could do a stand up circle.  You could do a F.I.N.D debrief where they stand in a circle or in multiple small groups. My initial idea is to find ways that

energize people

and to use that to alleviate the fatigue that occurs from staring at a computer screen. Of course, there are multiple other benefits, like practicing language production, relationship and team-building.  It’s a win – win.

Bryan: I would definitely just mix it up, like I used Class Dojo and Kahoot and things like that in my classroom at Mendez.  After a time, I would actually get sick of those approaches and feel bored with it. I figure if I am bored with it, they are probably bored with it. I like to change it up and constantly be aware of what’s out there.  It’s good to connect with other teachers and ask, “Hey, what did you use today?” in terms of technology integration, and then commit to use a new tool, strategy or approach tomorrow.  

stop and walk

I just change it up!

Jessica: Sometimes you just need to take a break and stop and do something else.  It’s okay!  I would suggest to do a walk and talk.

A walk and talk is a way for students to get up out of their seats, do a think-pair-share but they are walking while they share.

I have seen it done where they get up, go outside for a little bit while they talk. As a teacher, I’d give them a specific prompt or topic to discuss and say, “You need to be back in 2 minutes,” and then I stand at the door and watch them. They get fresh air, get the blood circulating, get to talk with each other and possibly see or hear a different perspective from their partner talk.  When they return, you can have them share out and hear some of the conversations.

Here is a resource you might be interested in, if the Walk and Talk sounds good.  He suggests a 10-2 rule, where for every 10 minutes of teacher talk, there is 2 minutes of student talk. I think that’s far off the mark, and suggest at least a 50%/50% split, especially when working with English Learners. We need plenty of time to practice language production – the more, the better!

Here’s a “tool” or Walk and Talk approach with helpful supporting documentation, like a video with a teacher interview and instructions.


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Coordinating 21st Century Learning in Santa Ana & beyond. I practice art through photography. I raise funds for clean water with Team World Vision.

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Coordinating 21st Century Learning in Santa Ana & beyond. I practice art through photography. I raise funds for clean water with Team World Vision.

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