Managing Handheld Technology in Class
My class has not reached out 1:1 ratio dream of handheld technology for each student, so we have to make the most of our limited devices which is at 13 this coming Fall.
At the start of the year, I make sure we review all of the responsible ways we take care of technology. I employ our school’s PBIS expectations and connect how to be Safe, Responsible and Respectful with the devices. We discuss costs for the technology, and how each of them was obtained (grants, personal funds, etc..). They leave that first tech day knowing that these using these devices is not a right, it’s a privilege that I have worked very hard over the past years to get to this point.
Obviously, giving students about 2 minutes alone with iPod Touch/Pad will be enough time to have them trained in how to maneuver around it. But it’s very important to take the time to differentiate that this is not about freedom to do anything on it, there are certainly limits. Now some would say, “ah, you need to let students have the freedom to do what they will!”. And I agree to a point, that exploration is an important part of learning, but without ground rules, students will take advantage of the technology and not use it appropriately.
To combat the, “I haven’t gotten to use an ipod this week!” argument, I assign what I call the Tech-Gurus to manage a list of students who are allowed to use the iPod touch/pad during our Daily 5 times. The devices are used throughout the day as well, but during those focused times, they are handed out and checked off a list, so that they are continually rotated throughout the class. (This is the one thing that I can’t wait to have 1:1 tech some day….).
I also train the Tech-Gurus when devices should be charged, picked up before the end of the day. They also get their desks cleaned and ready for lining up early so that they have time to wipe down the screens with micro-fiber cloths, which just makes the technology sparkle, ready for the next day.
As I begin this Fall, I am adding 4 new iPad2 devices to our library of technology. I am getting to the point where storing them is going to become a problem. Right now I am keeping all of the iPod Touches in a padded briefcase which is easily portable, but I am going to have 6 iPads that need to be kept safe and portable. I’ll let you all know what I come up with.