Digital Classroom Management Tips

Consider these tips to help you manage a digital learning environment:

  • Dean Shareski: “Rule #1. When you open the laptop in the classroom, you are no longer the smartest person in the room.”
  • Plan a strong lesson. First and foremost to any classroom management technique is your lesson plan. A good lesson plan that keeps the student involved will reduce classroom problems – whether you are using mobile devices or not. Assign discrete tasks instead of large projects. In your lesson plans, spell out exactly what you expect your students to do with their mobile device. Create your own expectation. Furthermore, make sure any use of the mobile device in class is appropriate, and not its own distraction.
  • Always run through a technology lesson before presenting it to the class.
  • Always have a back-up lesson prepared in case the technology fails.
  • Create a culture of good mobile device use. This means that good academic uses by individual students should be praised, but mis-uses should be acknowledged and students held accountable. Assign offending students paper and pencil tasks. The point here is that the classroom needs to respect and use the device as a tool, and not a toy. Taking away the benefits of the tool can be strong motivator for improving the classroom culture. Once you let them just play games, they will always want to play games.
  • Model effective and appropriate use as often as possible.
  • Type directions for frequently used computer operations – opening programs, inserting clip art, printing documents, and so on – on index cards, laminate them, and connect them with a circle ring. Keep a set ready to hand out. Or, add them as a Page to your blog for easy reference.
  • Always have students check that all applications are closed (to avoid costly crashes) and that the sound is turned down before starting a lesson.
  • Encourage collaboration. Mobile devices are excellent tools for collaborative and cooperative work, particularly if students can work in a space that allows them to see each other’s screen.
  • Review the WOISD Acceptable Use Policy with your students. You might have done this before, but now they have a device in their hands for an extended period of your classroom. Don’t take any chances. Review it again at least in the beginning.
  • Proximity control works better than software for managing classes.
  • Check the Taskbar (netbooks) as you wander around the classroom.
  • Double click the Home button on the iPad 2 to see what apps have been running lately.
  • Netbooks – students can only save work to the cloud (Google Apps, blog, DropBox, etc) or their flashdrives. There will be NO thaw space on the netbooks.
  • iPad – students can save work to the cloud (Google Apps, blog, DropBox, etc), Keynote, Pages, Garageband, and other apps will save onto the iPad, but other users can delete them.
  • Designate “Think Time” or “Lids Down” time when students must direct their attention to the teacher or facilitator
  • Use timers: timers are great fro any activity. If you’re doing a class activity that involves the mobile device, use a timer so the kids know they don’t have all day.
  • Consider this article: Classroom Management in the Digital Age

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