It drives me crazy, I just can't sleep. Without class management, tech might make me just scream! Digital Classroom Management

Setting Up for 1:1

  • Establish clear set-up and clean up procedures for the beginning and end of day. I expect students in my homeroom to get devices prior to the tardy bell. They know the first student to arrive at each table group is expected to retrieve devices for the table. At the end of the day, I have a "tech posse" who are responsible students in charge of collecting devices, returning them to the correct slot, plugging them in, and, most importantly, letting me know if there are any devices missing. While it took a few weeks to train students in these procedures, after routine practice students feel like they have ownership of the the upkeep of the devices and are very good about taking responsibility for these procedures.
  • Establish clear set-up and clean up procedures for each class. Students follow the same expectations I had before I received Chromebooks - come in quietly, read the board, begin the warm up. The only difference now is students can do the warm up on the computer. If the board does not indicate technology, they leave devices in the middle of the table until directed. At the end of class, students know to be dismissed they must restore all devices to the middle of the table in a neat stack.
  • Create an organization system all students are familiar with to make technology assignment and accountability easy. In my classroom, students often work in collaborative pairs or groups. I number my table groups and each seat is assigned a number on the back of a pencil pouch attached to their chair. Students know which computers belong at each table based on the numbers on the chairs. While tables work for me, they may not work for every teacher or every project, the key is having an organized system students know well and that works for the academic expectations students are expected to accomplish.
From left to right: My classroom in between classes, Chromebooks stacked in the middle of tables, central storage location for Chromebooks to be returned at the end of the day.

Establish Clear Tech-spectations

At the beginning of the school year, both the students and I were getting used to the priviledge of having access to devices on a daily basis. The excitedment of it made us all eager to use devices every day. I found that I was so excited about the work students were doing that I forgot to establish how to stop and listen to directions. I would get so frustrated when I found myself repeating the same thing. Finally, I realized, I never set an expectation for how to get directions or whole class guidance in the middle of a digital task. As a team, we talk about being an active listener at the beginning of the year - face the speaker, eyes on the speaker, hands free, listen for word and tone, and quiet mouth. What I quickly learned was as much as I thought students to work and listen, they could not listen the way I needed them to. They were missing instructional moments that applied to them and key details that could improve the quality of their work. This led me to start establishing common vocabulary for devices. Now, things are not perfect by any means (they never will be), but students stop and listen and I am a much happier tech integrator.

Establish a Common Vocabulary

  • 45 degree your screens = close your screen to a 45 degree angle, remove hands from keyboard, look at speaker
  • Share a Screen = two or more students work off of the same screen
  • Share a Doc = two or more students collaborate on a Google Doc
  • Collaborative Slide = go to your assigned slide to complete the task
  • Select a Driver = select a person to be in control of navigating a live document
  • Travel Mode = 2 hands on device at all times, typically device is closed
  • Flexible Seating = students select a spot where they can focus and be productive; the rule of 2 feet applies, so if a seat is not helping them learn, they can walk to a new seat; teacher can move any student who is not in a learning location
Top Left: 45 degree your screen; Top Right: Student "driving" a presentation; Bottom Right: Travel Mode (two hands on the device); Bottom Left: Students "Share a Screen"

Teaching Students "How to Fish"

Don't forget, your students can be the most helpful tool in your classroom. Use them. Let them lead, ask them questions. They will help divide and conquer and learn some problem solving skills at the same time. Here are some ways to teach students "How to Fish" ...

  • Create a Tech Tools Wall - Find a space to have students build a tech tools wall. Students discover short cuts and helpful tips all the time. I call them "happy accidents." Celebrate learning from mistakes and find a place where students can learn from each other by displaying these tips on the wall for students to refer to.
  • Mini-Lesson Tutorials - If you want a student to use a tech tool properly, teach them. My team realized early on that students did not understand how to use Google Drive when creating and sharing documents and slides for a project. We found a quick tutorial, talked about how Drive is organized, and showed a visual of how to set up their Drive just like you would teach a student how to organize a binder.
  • Identify Class Experts - I find in assignments and larger class projects using tech, it is important to identify Class Experts. Recently students were working on web pages for a project. I had an student expert for uploading pictures, importing a video clip, and using the EasyBib add-on for citations. This allowed me to conference with students about their work and helped with classroom management. It also let those students take on leadership roles and they were proud to be the one to know how to to do it.
  • Assign Group Jobs - This allows for all students to become more familiar with the tech and engages them in a dialogue with their peers who may be more familiar with the program being used.
Clockwise from Top Left: Example of a Tech Tools Wall, student groups work using assigned group jobs, student experts go the extra mile for presentations, students take turns in group leadership roles during class presentation.

Resources for Managing Google Classroom

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