iMindset Changes iManagement
Remember when individual whiteboards and dry erase markers were first introduced in school? Remember how much of a commotion that created in the teacher world? We worried about dealing with kids drawing all the time on boards, about the cost of replacing broken markers, about markers being a distraction for students. And now consider how we don’t even think twice about using white boards in the classroom anymore! We simply set expectations before every use, walk around to view their boards, and provide them pen and pencil if they misuse them. Our mindset toward whiteboards and markers is that it is a learning tool. Therefore, we manage students’ use with them just like we do with all learning tools. We give expectations, monitor actively, and give alternative choices.
Personalized devices such as iPads are simply our newest learning tool. Approach mobile device behaviors the way we have always approached other learning tools like whiteboards or calculators and trust that the management strategies you already have in your back pocket will work just the same with mobile devices. Start building a list with your CLT of strategies you use when a student mistreats a notebook or draws on a whiteboard. That list…is your mobile device management system. Not stickers. Not rewards.
Teach students that in class, iPads or other mobile devices are used as a learning tool. Outside of class or school, this same device could in fact be a gaming tool, a social-networking tool, a camera, and so much more. But in class, set the expectation that mobile devices will act as a learning tool and will be treated as a learning tool. If we discipline iPad use and misuse the way we do when children misuse a toy, students will unfortunately never use it the way we want them to use it in class and will continue to treat it like a toy. It all comes down to our mindset. Shifting our mindset changes our management and that itself will shift our students’ mindset and behavior.
5 More Mobile Device Management Tips:
Change Teaching Location: Teach from the back of the room or walk around the room as you talk. Work is now done on screens so doing this will help you view screens and see what they are working on.
Look at Hands and Face: If fingers are tapping fast, they are probably playing a game. If they have a smiling expression and they’re assignment is reading a text about World War II, they’re probably reading something else.
Don’t Provide a “Back Up”: Letting students who forget their device borrow a device during class time will never motivate them to bring theirs next time. They should work without it for the day. If work must be done on the device, then decrease the privileges. For example, student can complete the work on a loaner device but during lunch time with the teacher.
Set Routine & Language: Create common language and routines in your classroom. Create common phrases. “Screen down” is a good phrase when you want their attention. “Lay flat” is good when you want to see all iPad work at once so their screen is flat on the table. Create a contract with students. For elementary grades or for a single classroom setting, a visual contract like this one I did with my fifth graders could be powerful. Otherwise, a simple home-made chart does the trick.
Over-Emphasize Good Use: Even when good use is short lived, jump on the opportunity when you have it. Compliment loudly. You want their peers to hear. Say things like “wow, thanks for teaching each other” or “You’re taking photos of my chart. That’s kind of brilliant.” or “Wait, you’re airdropping an example for her? Super smart way of using airdrop.” It is one of the fastest and most powerful ways to create the culture you want in a class. The ripple effect is real.