Today the CollabLab welcomes Rachel Barry, Mark Heintz, and Kim Miklusak--Department Technology Coaches and teachers at Elk Grove HS. This is the first in a series of blog posts on this topic! Please leave a comment if you have more suggestions or ideas!
Tip #1: Build a Routine
It is important to have a well defined, clear structure with set expectations and classroom procedures. While these are all elements of good teaching with or without technology, sometimes it’s good to remind ourselves of some good steps to help manage behaviors. Students do best with a consistent routine. There are obviously many ways to set effective routines. The ones below are just a few suggestions!
One option to establish routines is to start every class by having all students go to Schoology (or other LMS) and look at the agenda for the day. This provides a clear centering activity to draw together everyone’s attention. Starting with your LMS each day forces students to get out their iPad every day. The question of “Are we using the iPad today?” is never asked because you have set the expectation that they will use it every single day. Then either close the iPad or go to the appropriate files if you are using technology that day. Even use it on the day of an exam! You can start off with students checking the agenda to clarify or remind them they have an assessment that day.
Another option is to set a dynamic for the week or topic. For instance, on the first day of a new topic, the students go to Schoology and download the topic’s warm-up document. From then on, students will always open up the blue warm-up document in Notability to start each class. Color-coding this document helps the teacher to visually see that all students are working on the correct document at the beginning of class. Upon completion of the warm-up, students go to the Checklist in Schoology. This is a great option to guide students through the steps that they need to complete for the day, week, or topic while also keeping them accountable for the material.
Some additional suggestions include limiting the number of apps or documents that students use with a period or course. Also be sure to model good behavior by keeping your own electronic devices away! If we expect them to be off Twitter for the period, we should be, too! Finally, set up a routine to close class. This could be looping back to the opening agenda for the day or an exit slip--digital or otherwise. This helps prevent students from packing up early and helps close out the objective for the class that day.