Week 4: November 22-28

Essential Question: What are ways you manage the use of laptops in your classroom and what additional best practice ways might you add?

Simple, clear procedures have always worked for me for any kind of classroom management whether it be with laptops or without.  Here’s just a few tips and tricks I use when working with laptops in the classroom.  All procedures are modeled and revisited during the year to ensure the smooth operation of technology in the class.

Tip #1:   Have students lower laptop lids 45° when giving important instructions.  You would do this any other time – working with laptops is no different. Rove around the classroom while students are working.  You do this any other time too – again, working with laptops is no different. DSCN0183

Tip #2:  We don’t put our fingers on anyone else’s keyboard – we help by telling not doing (otherwise how will they learn?)

Tip #3:  Make an Experts Chart.  Train 2-3 students to be the experts in something (embeding an image, working in iMovie, blogs, voicethread, garageband, importing audio/video/photos)  That way the teacher doesn’t have to be the expert and students get a buzz out of being considered the expert.

Tip #4:  When learning a new digital tool – ALWAYS have “sand-pit” time.  Allow students to play and discover as much as they can about how it works and what it can do. Usually 15-20 minutes and use a timer (interactive ones are cool)

Tip #5:  Speed-Geek – After playing in the “sand-pit” with a new tool, we have speed-geeking (kind of like speed-dating!). One volunteer per table remains behind to showcase what they’ve discovered, the rest of the class rotates. (The volunteers usually become the Experts on our Experts Chart) DSCN0771

Tip #6:  Use clear, simple routines for getting out/putting away laptops – they are just like any other resource in the classroom.  (Have two monitors that check all laptops have actually been plugged in for charging.)

Tip #7:  Ask students at the start of the year to bring in a set of earbuds.  (Very cheap here in Thailand).  That way everyone has their own headphones.  We store the headphones in mini ziplock bags with student’s names on the bags.

Tip #8:  The flash-drive is an important tool.  It’s just like your pencil, ruler and eraser.  It’s a MUST have item everyday.

Tip #9:  Don’t be afraid to say you don’t know how to do something.  Students love it when they figure it out before you do.  That being said ….. if you’re going to use a digital tool for a project in your class – make sure you’ve had a go at the task first.  You do need to know the basics.  If you’re not sure how to use a tool, utilize your tech team (if you’re lucky enough to have one) or ask your PLN for help.

Tip #10:  Keep calm when things don’t work so well. The internet will go down, the programme will not respond but don’t sweat it.  Model patience to your students.  If you get flustered or frustrated when things don’t work, so will they.

More links provided by our CoETaIL course advisors for managing laptops/computers in the class:  23 Things about Classroom Laptops.

So what have I missed?  What do you do?

Image attribution:  teachingsagittarian http://www.flickr.com/photos/room18tis