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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.