I repeatedly noticed how hard it was for me to observe absence-in-class during group work: As soon as I left my position at the back of the classroom in order to achieve a bigger, better, or just different view of the activities (e.g. if groups left the classroom), I suddenly occupied a position that more resembled that of a teacher than a fellow student, which means I no longer escaped students’ attention. As I approached a group’s table, it was as if they registered a foreign element approaching and thus quickly clicked, toggled, or swiped away from various off-task websites. Without further comparison, I felt like an ethologist who had startled the animals by approaching them too conspicuously. The same process occurred whenever a teacher tried to approach students to obtain a line of sight to their screens.

jesper aagaard

Aagaard, J. (2016). Breaking down barriers: The ambivalent nature of technologies in the classroom. New Media & Society, 19(7). https://doi.org/10.1177/1461444816631505