CIO Q&A: Technology & Classroom Management

5 min. readlast update: 02.12.2024

The use of technology in the classroom can definitely be a double-edged sword and classroom management is definitely an important component to the successful use of technology resources by students. I am often asked about screen viewing tools for teachers to use to help with classroom management but find it cost prohibitive and unreliable in addressing true classroom management issues with students. From a classroom management perspective, I have provided some tips below. I remind teachers often that classroom management strategies are really no different than a student passing a note in class or being disruptive to others... Technology is a tool. While Technology introduces new avenues of learning, it can create new distractors for students as well. However, the basics of classroom management still apply in how you would handle the situation if someone one were disrupting your class whether by taking someones textbook, talking to others, or passing a note, the way you handle the situation does not change because the disruption occurred on or with a technology resource.. Set expectations collaboratively. Most school districts, including ours, have acceptable use policies in place. Use these policies at the beginning of the school year and/or semester to review expectations, consequences, and to have you and your own students collaboratively create your own "classroom technology contract".. Integrate Digital Citizenship into your lessons. With the introduction of any technology resources, it is a good time to review and/or introduce digital citizenship lessons with your students. Not only does this give you an opportunity to incorporate new ideas and capture student engagement within your subject content but also helps align your lessons with our District Strategic Plan and Call to Action - Empowering learners to be self-sustaining, successful contributors, to life and the global community. Example. Let's say you are teaching a geography lesson on the Inuit indigenous peoples of the Artic. Prompt students to think about how the technology they have access to in their daily lives, compares to the socio-economic environment the Inuit experience now, versus in the past. Or, what would an Inuit leader in the past tweet, if they had a twitter feed? By doing this you are not only helping to hopefully engage the student in different ways but, without realizing it, reviewing the impact that our digital footprints and technology use have in our lives and on other people. How we present ourselves online may not really be inline with who we are in person and the use of technology can have good, positive and negative impacts on ourselves and other people. You can also teach digital citizenship without subject matter integration, but the most effective way for students in upper grade levels to engage in and learn digital citizenship is to incorporate those concepts into your lessons. To get ideas or review digital citizenship concepts we have resources on our website and additional material can be found at: In addition, I am working with our Curriculum team to integrate ISTE Technology Standards for students into our curriculum. As we move forward on this initiative, this will open up additional resources around technology integration and digital citizenship in the classroom.. Walk around the classroom. Students are more likely to stay engaged, on task, and ask questions when teachers are moving around the room as opposed to presenting in front of the class or sitting behind a desk. Teachers should walk around the classroom and look over students’ shoulders to confirm that they are on task, including checks for minimized windows and open apps that could be causing distractions. Students are far less likely to play games or access social media if they know that at any moment their teacher will appear behind them. The layout of the classroom can make this easier – when possible, desks should be organized in such a way that teachers can move around easily, without climbing over book bags and cables to reach different parts of the classroom. Without this accountability, some students will almost certainly take advantage of “device time” and lose focus on the task at hand – which will distract them and other students around them.. Technology will fail, balance its use and have a back-up plan. Teachers often are surprised to hear me say that technology is a tool and not a replacement for the teacher or instruction. As such, technology should be treated as a tool and never serve as a complete replacement for what happens in a classroom. Our technology support team works tirelessly to ensure that our systems, infrastructure, and devices work and stay online. However, technology inevitably will fail as there is no such thing as 100% uptime and no issues. Teachers must always have a back-up plan and balance the use of technology use in the classroom.. Begin Assignments & Lessons "Offline". Make sure students understand their assignments, and to prevent distractions, provide instructions before students switch on their devices. This strategy will ensure that students are aware of expectations before their tasks begin, and reinforce the role of technology in the classroom. Example. If students are creating a presentation or video for class, try having them write out a framework or outline for the assignment before they build it on the computer. Establishing an outline before they start creating a project digitally will keep students focused on the task at hand while they work, and will help them think outside of the templates provided by Google Docs, PowerPoint or the many apps out there..

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