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Managing Tech Toys in the Classroom

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Thirty years ago, if teachers had COLORED chalk for their chalkboard, it was considered “high tech.” Today teachers have still cameras, voice recorders, flip cameras, iPod Touch devices, card readers, tripods, iPads, and other tech equipment to manage and teach – all at the same time.This can be an “eighteen-ring” circus managing and teaching with all of this equipment. So, establishing some simple rules and guidelines can make the classroom manageable and without any breakage and/or loss of equipment. Classroom management of students and supplies is the key to a successful lesson. Don’t overlook this.

KIS: Keep it Simple

  1. Little-by-little. If you come down with a long list of do’s and don’ts the students simply will not remember. Limit your rules to only ten.
  2. Posted rules. This is only for the rules of classroom and specific rules that you need to physically show the students on a daily basis. Post at least six copies of rules around the classroom. so wherever the students look they see the rules.
  3. Implied rules. These are underlying rules as you go. In the beginning of the year, have a new rule a day as you interact with the students.
  4. Establish a Culture of “Circle of Trust.” This used to be called “tech helpers.” These are the students that are also passionate about your subject and technology. They USE all the equipment and want the equipment when they want it. They are focused on making sure all the equipment is put back and in working order at all times.
  5. Check out sheet. Make sure all equipment is checked out. I have a sheet, with name, class, and equipment. It makes everyone accountable.

Let’s Get Started

Classroom Rules

Go over your TOP TEN rules in the classroom. Many teachers have two rooms in one like a  music room and a tech room. The first day of school or class, we practice moving chairs. I do this once, I never have to reteach.Seating chart of Promethean or Smart Board, easier to move students around, plus use a screen shot for substitute teachers.

“Left-brain” day  versus “Right-brain” day

When teaching new technologies or program establish what I call “right-brain” or “left-brain” day. Left-brain day is where students follow along, step-by-step and EVERYONE in the class has to be on the SAME screen. This creates an environment of helping each other. Again, do not move along until everyone is on screen. Do not go around and help, make the students help each other. Have numbers on each station or create stations, so you are not calling out names, just numbers.

The gifted and talented student will totally buy into this, since you tell the class that the goal is the “right brain” day, where students can click where and whenever they want. We all have “swiss cheese,” in regards to any program or technology toy, when the teacher goes step-by-step, everyone is on the same page. The swiss cheese is eliminated. Use “left-brain” day quite sparingly, only ten to thirteen minutes in a class period. Don’t use it everyday, only when you are introducing a new program or project.

Implied Rules

These can be as simple as the bathroom pass to the way ones passes out the iPod Touche devices. Everyday a new implied rule, only one a day.

Simple Tips

  1. Purchase equipment that all uses the same batteries or sans disc cards. If you have a classroom with a variety of different batteries and cards it will drive you nuts.
  2. Download all files the day they are filmed or shot. If you don’t follow this rule, it also will drive you nuts.
  3. Have an external drive of 500GB and at least two jump drives. You will need this in case you have to dump the video for later use or move files from computer to computer.
  4. Scout day before using any camera. Have the students “scout” for their pictures or video before you hand them a camera.This will eliminate the students leaving for twenty -five minutes with the one camera everyone is waiting for to use.
  5. Tech Day. Have a day where all the files are either dropped or saved to an external hard drive. Test out the files before you show them to the class,this way any tech issues are fixed before the big presentation day.
  6. Never have your presentation day be the last class. Here is where time management for the teacher comes to be so important. It also allows those students who need the extra time to work on their project. Try to end the class two days early. The last days of the class will be for evaluations and the google 20% (working on something they have never had the time to work on in class.)

Finally, we can have all those toys and tools, but classroom management really plays an important role in how these toys and tools can be controlled and implemented within the classroom environment. These have seemed to work well, I am interested in any other ideas teachers have, please contact me.

 

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One Response

  1. Great tips for classroom management when using tech.

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