Every day, schools across the country are adding more devices to the classroom. Here are five tips on how to manage the digital classroom.
- Whether your school is 1:1 or you have ipads on a cart, I strongly suggest that you have groups of two or three students working on one computer. The reason behind this is to maximize their work. When students are on their own device, it can be very difficult to:
- monitor what sites they are on
- keep them focused on the tasks at hand
- prevent them from drifting to other sites (kids don’t want to watch their partner surf the web)
When students are sharing a computer they are collaborating and that is a 21st century skill that all students need. So tomorrow, get your students in groups and set the extra Chromebooks and ipads off to the side.
- Students need to know where to store devices, how to store them, and which one is theirs. Most teachers number the devices. I find this useful for many reasons. 1. If my students are using Lego EV3 #1, I want them to also use ipad #1 and GoPro #1. They will always know where there device is, where their codes are and where their footage is. If my students are using the Lego EV3 #1 and it is synced by Bluetooth with Ipad #1, I won’t have to to sync them again and they will be ready to go for the rest of the year. This goes for syncing GoPro #1 with ipad #1. This allows for an easy workflow. They also know where to return their devices. Most schools agree that when a student feels ownership of a device, they will take better care of it.
- Digital Citizenship needs to be addressed every day. We can not manage a digital classroom by saying, “you were just texting, so everyone needs to put away their cell phones.” This is not teaching digital citizenship. Teachers must explain and reinforce good digital citizenship. Because students are learning how to use digital equipment in the classroom, this is a great way to introduce debates and open forums. Don’t get irritated with a student when they make a poor choice with their device, help them understand what went wrong and how it impacts them. Students will love talking about this!
- Use a student management system to organize your day and your students. I use Google Classroom and SeeSaw to help manage my class. These systems help cut down on paper, give your parents a window into the classroom, allow students to share and collaborate creatively and make your life easier because they can save time. There are so many features on Google Classroom and SeeSaw but don’t be nervous, there are many webinars, videos and tutorials to get you started. Just try one new thing each week or two and before you know it, you will have the hang of it.
- Time, Time, Time! Tell your students when they are on their device, there are time limits. Put up a timer on your projector using the website Classroom Timers. This will help your students and groups stay focused on the goal. Students should be using their device as a tool. If it is not a tool to complete the job, then it should be closed or put away. If I tell my students to look something up, build a model on Tinkercad or edit a video, I always put up a classroom timer and give them an allotted time. We discuss how long it should take so they have ownership of the time which is another great skill for them to develop when sitting in front of a computer. This prevents surfing the web and rabbit hole syndrome where students are just searching and looking.
Technology is overarching education, it is not going away. It is our responsibility to teach students how to manage it and use it effectively. CrossBraining is very interested in how you manage the digital classrooms and we would love to hear your tips!