Remember, classroom management should focus on students as we steer them toward learning opportunities. What worked in your classroom before technology will continue to work. Consistency, along with clear expectations will always be your guide...even in the technology rich classroom. The following list is certainly not all-inclusive, but provides a good base to initiate and maintain a successful classroom management plan for the 1-to-1 classroom.
1. Instill pride.
Instill pride among your students about how fortunate they are to have devices, because not all schools have this privilege. Talk with students about how they are getting to use the latest technology, they are impacting their own future, and that they are going to be “so much more ready” for their next level of education than many of their counterparts across the state, country, and world. Give the students a sense of value when you tell them that they are essentially pioneers for what technology will look like for the next generation.
• Ask students to give you reasons they should appreciate the devices. A good idea might be to have a guided discussion, make a list, then compile it, and post it in a prominent place in the classroom.
2. Distribution is Important.
Be diligent in planning for distribution of devices when students come into the classroom. sure to talk about how they should handle the devices: 1) Use two hands when carrying, 2) Do not grab or pick up any laptop style device by the screen, 3) Be careful to place the device on a solid and level surface before using, 4) Take care when retrieving or storing devices. Some have student pick up devices when they enter the classroom. They do not have to open their devices right away unless you have something for them to do with the devices immediately. If they do not have something immediately, students should leave devices closed until the teacher gives the instructions to open and log on. You need to decide what is the best, and most efficient way to distribute devices without being a time waster or making it stressful on the teacher.
• Students sometimes crowd around carts and tend to bump against one another, which may cause another to drop their device.
3. Discuss Expectations.
Hold detailed discussions about expectations and appropriate use of devices. Every teacher needs to have this talk with students. It’s alright if the students hear it over and over as they move from one teacher to the next. The more students hear a consistent message, the more chance that it becomes common practice. Schools should have open conversations and make decisions as a team about how to manage the 1-to-1 classroom.
• We get our best ideas from more experienced peers and, of course, from trial and error. As more personal devices are introduced into the classroom, more common solutions to the management issues are emerging. Share your best practices.
4. YOU control when devices can be used.
Just because every student has a device, does not mean that they have to be on them all the time. The teacher decides and makes the ground rules for when students are allowed on their devices in the classroom. A good rule for controlling the device use is to have a set activity on the board that does NOT require the use of the device. (This may not be the case every day, but then again, the teacher can make that determination.
• This prevents students from coming into class and immediately getting onto devices unrestricted.
5. Face Up and About Face.
When you want students to use devices, have a standing rule that they log on, and then turn their devices so that the screens face the front of the room. This is called “FACE UP.” Once all students are logged in and you are ready for the class lesson or activity to start, the teacher gives the students a verbal outline of what will be going on in class today, what the goals are, and any time frame you expect to be honored. Once that is done, you would check for understanding, and then give the prompt, “ABOUT FACE.” This is when students can turn devices back around and begin work.
• You are controlling when, how, and time allowed for device activity.
6. Use timers.
Give students a time frame to complete any assignment or activity. Make the time practical, but at the same time, without too much leeway. They need to be busy with the task at hand the entire time you allow. Use the timer on your Promethean or Smartboard, or just type it into google and display it (for example, type 2 minute timer into the Google Search Box and it will display and start a countdown immediately for your to project).
• Early finishers tend to wander around the web in gaming sites, news sites, sports sites or video sites. Don’t permit it.
7. Have something ready for Early Finishers. As with all heterogeneous classrooms, there will always be some early finishers. Have something planned that is productive, lesson related, and it doesn’t have to be on the device. In fact, it’s better if it is “off-device.” That way you can ask them to close the lids or turn their devices over when finished so you’ll know when to move to the next activity…especially if all are finished before your set time limit.
• Idol hands and idol minds…well, you get it.
8. Stress Good Digital Citizenship.
Make sure to impress upon student the appropriate use of the tools they are privileged to use in our schools. Comments not dealing with the task or assignment have no place in general classroom discussions. Neither do comments that are offensive, or bullying in nature. Remember that you should not type it if you have second thoughts about it being the right thing to say.
• This keeps the activity focused on the learning instead of getting off track with nonsensical comments.
One of the absolute best practices for teachers using 1-to-1 is proximity. When students are on digital devices, teachers must move around the classroom...up and down each row, and over to every group work station. The depth of what technology presents to young people is just too powerful a temptation to stray from a lesson’s content, and provides so many avenues for distraction. Whatever the negatives, a good classroom management plan promotes the overwhelmingly positive potential of students having access to a device when needed. Teachers need to literally be doing laps around the room.
• Change your pattern of travel around your room. Skip a row and come back, pop into a group doing a collaborative project, start at a different place when you start moving around, when you stand in one place briefly...be where you can see the most student device screens.
10. Students in Charge take Pride in Care
Put a student or two in charge for the week to make sure all devices are stored correctly, in the correct spots and are plugged in for proper charging. Rotate each week who will be on your “Tech Team.” Post this week’s names at the front of the room or near the device storage cart. Create a short checklist that the students can follow every day. This list provides consistency and gives the students a sense of security that they performed their job correctly.
• Giving students important jobs tends to boost their confidence, and they tend to take such jobs very seriously.
11. Devices Don’t Just Teach How to Use the Internet
Use the devices to reinforce more than just how to search and find something on the Internet. It is our responsibility of as teachers, to prepare the students for the 1-to-1 environment. Students must learn to adapt to the demands of the world that they will be entering in the future.
Here are some suggestions:
1. Reinforce keyboarding skills: which keys are shortcuts, learn better typing skills, editing skills
2. Teach good digital citizenship: no inappropriate comments, citation of work, no cyber-bullying
3. Teacher literacy and writing: develop expression and creativity, correct verb usage, spelling
4. Cultivate an environment that thrives on collaboration and productive student engagement.
5. Encourage Communication, Collaboration, Creativity, and Critical Thinking.
12. Practice What You Preach
This is a big one. Teachers have to use the devices and tools themselves. We have to model what we are asking students to do. Here are some ways to do just that:
1. Invite your district Technology coaches into your room to model lesson and tools, or help
support a lesson you are doing.
2. Always be on the search for better ways to integrate technology in your classroom.
3. Ask for Professional Development in technology related issues where you are not confident.
4. Don’t be afraid to try. Short of uninstalling a program, you can generally fix any mistake you
5. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
6. Share with colleagues when you discover something that might help them.
7. Students need to see you using your Chromebooks, iPads, Laptops in productive ways.
8. Teach students the “tech language.” Teach the difference between logging off and shutting
9. Teach the difference between a screen name and a username, etc.
10. Read blogs, “Subscribe” to a blog or YouTube channel that provides good instructional tips.
11. Join a Professional Learning Network. Twitter has some excellent information to share.
12. Have fun exploring.