5 Tips for Managing Mobile Devices in the Classroom

An increasing number of students are returning to school after the winter break with shiny new mobile devices in hand. This excites me as I rely entirely on my students devices and a BYOD policy to integrate technology into my classroom. That said, I’ve trained lots of teachers who are hesitant to embrace mobile devices. Many teachers fear that allowing students to use their devices in class will only distract them and compromise the learning environment. My experience has been the exact opposite. Allowing students to use their devices in the classroom has been absolutely transformative!

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5 Tips for Managing Mobile Devices: 

1. Establish New Norms

When class begins, my students know they need to put their devices volume off and screen down in the corner of their desks. When it’s time to use their devices, I simply say “screens up” and they know they can use their devices.

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2. Treat Devices as Learning Tools

If you treat your students’ devices as learning tools, the perception of them in the classroom also changes. Students begin to recognize the value of their devices for research and exploration. They shift from potential distractions to tools that engage.

girls ipad

3. Use a Phone Cubby for Testing

When students are taking a quiz or exam, use a phone cubby to neatly store their devices. I bought this Christmas ornament organizer and used that to create my phone cubby. Students know they must put anything with a screen in the cubby during testing.

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4. Encourage Sharing

Many teachers worry about equity when it comes to technology. Teacher always ask,
“What if every student doesn’t have a device?” My answer, “They can share.” If you create a culture of sharing in your class, then using devices encourages collaboration. It does not create a huge divide between the haves and have nots as many teachers fear. In fact, I  prefer the energy in the room when multiple students share devices. They lean in, they ask questions, and they have conversations.

collab with devices

5. Connect Student with Educational Apps

I’ve got go-to apps I use with students all the time. I encourage students with devices to download different apps to use both inside and outside of the classroom. Using a variety of apps with students cultivates technology fluency. Students begin to understand how to leverage apps for learning. Over time, they develop the ability to evaluate a situation and select the best app or tech tool to  a given task.

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Over the course of the next few weeks, I will be sharing my favorite apps with ideas for how teachers can use them with students!

If you have tips for managing mobile devices, please share them.

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8 Responses to 5 Tips for Managing Mobile Devices in the Classroom

  1. Pingback: 5 Tips for Managing Mobile Devices in the Classroom | Teachers Blog

  2. hesta says:

    AWESOME!! I want to know everything! Definitely want to impliment it in our classes this year. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Barb W. says:

    I am sharing your post with our teachers. Hopefully your tips will alleviate some of their concerns about BYOD. Great ideas!

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  5. Karen says:

    I like the term “screens up”. Establishing classroom protocols and language is so important in any case. Thanks for this tip. I also like your use of an ornament box. I have tried a basket, and students panicked because they couldn’t find their phones quickly.

    I have had students use mobile devices for Today’s Meet and found success, which I wrote about in a recent blog post (http://kdesjadon.blogspot.com/).

    Thanks for the tips!

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