Tag Archives: classroom management

Maximize the Opportunities BYOD Presents

Why will BYOD transform teaching practice?

Can teachers not just keep doing what they are already doing?

Yes, teachers will be able to continue to do much of what they have already done in the past. However, in some cases there will be a need for change. Now that a student can bring his or her own device to school, new opportunities are opened up that were never before viable.

How these possibilities take shape requires flexibility. Not every student will have a device. In addition, the devices that students bring to school will vary and the software that is available on each gadget will be different. This creates a unique set of challenges.

How can teachers maximize the learning opportunities BYOD presents?

byod and leanring

Maximize the learning opportunities BYOD presents.

  • use web apps to create consistency
  • form collaborative teams
  • incorporate mobile technology into school events
  • digitize note taking
  • enhance existing activities with technology
  • design innovative new technology-based activities
  • acknowledge digital citizens
  • create a team of in-house experts
  • maintain an equitable learning environment

Use Web Apps to Create Consistency

Web apps are applications that are accessible by users through the Internet using a web browser. In a BYOD environment, it is a good idea to use web apps because they create consistency. The device no longer matters, because everyone can use the same application to complete his or her work.

Form Collaborative Teams to Take Advantage of the Number and Range of Devices

Not every student will bring his or her own device to school, and those that do will have a range of hardware and software. To maximize the opportunity divide students into collaborative teams. Teams can be based on pairing device holders with non-device holders, producing homogenous groups of devices, or creating heterogeneous groups of devices. Together, teams can take a survey or poll, complete a quiz, or post a joint response. Please note the student who owns the device is the only one that can touch it.

Incorporate Mobile Technology into School Events

Encourage students to use their devices at school events, such as field trips, open houses, or assemblies. This will allow them to use their technology for more than completing class assignments. For example, take photos for a report about a school outing, post QR codes as a part of an exhibit, or complete a poll to engage audience participation.

Digitize Note Taking

Don’t waste time having students type notes. Have them pay attention and participate in classroom discussion and activities. Notes can be obtained by posting them online or by students taking a photo of the board.

Enhance Existing Activities

Many activities that are paper and pencil tasks can be digitized. Students can use their devices to conduct online research, take notes, organize events using an e-calendar, schedule reminders, or produce digital content.

BYOD for schools

Design Innovative New Activities

Take advantage of the technology that is now available to students. Create optional activities that BYOD holders can complete as part of a unit such as electronic portfolio, video recording, podcast, digital story, e-book, blog, digital journal, or simulation.

Acknowledge Digital Citizens

Digital citizenship is norms of responsible behavior related to the appropriate use of technology. It is an important aspect of participating in today’s world. Produce a digital citizenship award and use it to acknowledge students that exhibit digital literacy skills, exercise ethical online behavior, demonstrate etiquette, and practice online safety. Print a certificate or post a digital badge to a school website, classroom web page, or student profile to showcase their achievement.

Create a Team of In-House Experts

Empower your students by having them assist peers with IT questions. Produce a bulletin board. Use it to identify students that are experts with using various apps. When a student needs help, they can then go and ask a friend. Please note, assistance should be limited to how to use the app. Peers should not install software on another students’ device nor alter device settings.

Maintain an Equitable Learning Environment

Participation in a BYOD initiative is voluntary. Teachers must maintain an equitable learning environment. Students without devices should not be penalized. Always design assignments that include both a paper/pencil task and a digital option. If an assignment must be completed using a computer, provide access to technology by scheduling computer lab time, booking a mobile cart, or using a lending library. Be flexible in how students complete assignments as software availability will differ.

Teaching Using Video Instruction

Video Instruction

Record a video and have your students follow the instructions.

Can students in Grade 7 watch a video and follow the instructions to complete a task?
Yes, they can!

I use a range of instructional methods when teaching in the computer lab. One common method I use is to model the instructional steps using a projector. Today, I tried a new approach. I pre-recorded the steps using Jing and then provided each student with access to the video. In addition, I had created a worksheet with the instructions. Students had the option of watching the video to learn how to organize data into a spreadsheet or they could follow the steps on the printed worksheet.

Was There a Difference in the Quality of Work?

The lesson was fairly simple. Instructions explained how to input survey data, format the cells to make the information easy to read, and use AutoSum to perform a basic calculation. No matter the instructional method selected – video or printed workbook, all students successfully completed the lesson. However, it was observed that students who used the printed workbook were more likely to “skip” a step. As well, the students that had questions about the activity were more likely to be using the printed workbook.

Do Students Prefer to Watch a Video or use a Printed Workbook?

The answer to this question may surprise you. When given a choice, the class was divided equally between those students that watched the video and those students that preferred the printed workbook.

I expected more students to select the video, so I was a bit surprised. I wonder if over time, this changes.

Why Did Some Student Prefer the Printed Workbook?

Why did some students prefer the printed workbook? When asked students tended to cite the following two reasons:

  1. Not enough screen space. Students felt that the video took up too much of the screen and should be smaller. (noted!)
  2. Interrupts workflow. Students did not like that they had to keep pausing the video to complete the next step (not sure how to change that)

How Did Students Use the Video?

The students that choose to watch the video exhibited a range of viewing behaviour. Since the students were not told HOW to use the video it was interesting to observe how they used to video to learn:

  • Watch the entire video first. Some students opted to preview the lesson. Once they had a “big picture” understanding of the lesson, they then used the printed workbook to follow the step-by-step instructions.
  • Listen to the video. Some students (who are likely auditory learners) chose to listen to the video. They wore headphones and followed the auditory instructions in the video. They did not watch the action in the video.
  • Split the computer screen. Some students decided to divide their computer screen into two parts. They would watch the video on the left side of the screen and then pause it. Next, they would complete the step demonstrated in the video using the program window open on the right side of the screen.
  • Toggle between windows. Some students preferred to switch back and forth between the video and the program. These students would watch the video at full screen size and then pause it. Next, they would toggle to the program window, which was also full screen size. Students would complete the step demonstrated in the video. Once finished, they would toggle back to the video.

As a Teacher, Did I Prefer Video Instruction?

The short answer to this question is YES!

Here is what I liked about using a video:

  • Provide More One-on-One Instruction: Since I wasn’t delivering the instructions, I now had time! I used this time to help those students who require extra attention. I have a few students in my class that need more one-on-one attention. I liked having the ability to work with them individually.
  • Higher Quality Interactions with Students: I liked that I had time to chat with students about their work/experiences. Typically, I don’t have the time to wander the room to chat with students. Instead, I spend the time giving instructions and “putting out fires” related to tech issues. What a wonderful difference!
  • Enhanced Classroom Management: I found that the students behaved better. There was less chatting about unrelated topics and off-task behaviour. I think this is because the students were more engaged when watching the video.

Does Watching a Video Create Poor Listeners?

Since I am a guest instructor, I work with the classroom teacher. This provides me with a unique opportunity to gain a different perspective. Although the classroom teacher did like using the video as an instructional tool, there was one concern: students are not developing listening skills.

I have given lots of thought to this perspective. In many ways, it is true.

Students need to learn to be quiet when someone else is speaking. They need to be able to listen attentively to acquire information when in a group setting. They also need to be able to follow a set of oral instructions to complete a task. These are essential social skills.

The video presents a different type of listening skill. Instead of the teacher modeling each step using the projector, with each student in the group following along at the same time, the video provides step-by-step instructions to each student individually. The students are no longer listening directly to the teacher. They are listening to the video. Students control the pace of instruction when viewing the video and they can play a section repeatedly to hear the instructions.

Does this make them poorer listeners?
I don’t think so. I think it is just different. However, I am not sure how to overcome the concern.

What Is Next?

I am going to use different video recording software to create a new video for Assignment 9. This software will record a video that will run in a smaller window on the screen. Will the video be preferred more if smaller?

I am going to provide a “digital” version of the Assignment 9 workbook instructions that will allow each student to cross off each step as they go. Will this prevent them from missing steps?

Positive Reinforcement is not Just About Shaping Behavior

While the majority of students were already in line to head to their next class, I turned to notice that one of my students was still sitting at his machine working. Throughout the weeks, this student has frequently been off-task and required on-going support. Now he was diligently working all period and didn’t want to stop.

boy girl

I knew that it was important to reinforce this behavior. I walked over and let him know that I was impressed with his efforts during today’s class. He smiled!

Then, he turned to me and said, “This is my favorite class!”
Now I was smiling too!

My day just got brighter. The stress created by the three machines that did not login properly and were preventing my students from saving their work seemed like a tiny annoyance. The weird error message that Computer 7 displayed on start-up was all but forgotten. I was so pleased!

My goal was to shape behavior using positive reinforcement. I wanted my student to use class time wisely and stay focused throughout the period. What I received back was so unexpected and wonderful. It was a reminder of why I chose education as a career.

I began to think about praise and how words of encouragement can make everything seem better. My mind wandered to last week. I was teaching the last period of the day on Friday. Computer class was right after gym. To say the least, the students were “wired”. It was difficult to keep everyone focused. By the end of class, I breathed a sigh of relief, grateful that the period was over. Just then, a girl walked into the computer lab. She needed help transferring her school work onto her flash drive. I coached her through the task.

When I was finished she said, “Thank you. You just saved my life!” I laughed. Her expression of gratitude made me feel fantastic (a bit like a super hero). No longer did I feel tired. I was instantly recharged.

These experiences remind me that positive reinforcement is not just about shaping behavior or training someone to have a particular skill set. It is about making someone feel great.

Improve the mood in your classroom. Take a minute to praise your students, celebrate their achievements, and thank them for their efforts. It will make everyone’s day brighter.

A Teacher Speaks Out: Yes, you should teach Internet skills!

I recently conducted an interview with the classroom teacher upon the completion of teaching TechnoJourney to learn more about her thoughts and ideas about the experience.

UPDATE: TechnoJourney was replaced with TechnoInternet. The activities are similar.

Your students just spent the past few weeks completing activities from the technology project TechnoJourney. What was your overall impression of the experience?

I was really impressed with the project. It’s a great computer curriculum. The assignments were easy to follow and the students learned the skills.

TechnoJourney is full of a wide-range of Internet-based activities. You selected several from the technology project to use with your students. How did you make that decision?

Students learn Internet skills using TechnoJourney computer project

The students were engaged and focused in all the TechnoJourney activities.

From all the activities available in TechnoJourney, I chose the following:

  • Visitor’s Center: Safety Booth, Search Engine Station, Favorites Center
  • e-Library: Research Center
  • e-Playground: Webcam Observatory, Arcade
  • e-Media Center: Video Theatre, Image Gallery, Map Collection
  • e-Mail Depot: e-card Shop

I based my choice on what I thought was relevant for my grade 3 students and what skills I knew they would be able to apply in other areas of the curriculum. If I had to eliminate any of the activities, I would probably not do the Arcade again. The students really enjoyed playing the games, but I think they have a lot of opportunity to do that outside of school.

Your students have spent the past few weeks engaged in Internet-based activities. What skill do you think your students learned that is the most valuable? Why?

Learning effective search strategies was most valuable for my students. They learned to identify trustworthy sources on the Internet. I saw them apply these skills in other themes we studied in the classroom. When they undertook their research for both our Oceans project and the Body project, students showed much more independence and asked for less help from me as they were searching for information online.

I often hear that technology skills should not be taught. Do you believe that teaching Internet research skills to your students was a good use of instructional time or do you think they would just learn them on their own?

I definitely think that TechnoJourney was an important use of our time in the computer lab. Not only did the students gain new skills, but I learned a lot too! Learning the search skills formally as opposed to just figuring them out on their own was certainly beneficial. I believe the students will retain these skills more effectively since they’ve explored and tried them out, talked about them during instructional activities, and finally reviewed them when they shared their new skills with another class in our final Internet Tour Guide activity.

TechnoJourney was scheduled for 10 classes, but ended up being 12 classes due to the addition of the Internet Tour Guide activity. At first glance, this does not seem like a lot class time, however, with only one computer class per week the reality is that this technology project has stretched from January to May. That is a lot of time to spend on one technology skill. Are you happy with the pace of instruction?

The students always retained their enthusiasm, so the pace was fine. It seems like a long time to spend on one project, but with all the different parts of TechnoJourney, the students were always doing different activities and learning new things. They were always excited and looking forward to the time in the computer lab.

Students teach each other their newly acquired Internet skills

The Internet Tour Guide activity was a great success using peer to peer teaching.

Would you teach activities from TechnoJourney next year? Why or why not?

Yes, I will certainly teach TechnoJourney next year. I plan to teach it in the first term, so that the students can benefit from using and applying the skills throughout the year. I think the safety guidelines are very important. Next year, before my students use the Internet, we will do these activities to ensure that they are responsible digital citizens.

At the end of the project, your students participated in an Internet Tour Guide activity. What educational value does this activity have on your students?

Students are reviewing and reinforcing the skills as they are teaching them to their peers. I’ve also noticed that the students’ self-confidence has been boosted. They’re very proud to show the other class what they know. This was especially important for some of the students with low self-esteem. I was surprised by how confident they were as they instructed the other students.

In one word, how would you summarize your experience with TechnoJourney?


Other Articles about Teaching Internet Skills using TechnoJourney

Now the Students’ Turn: Reflecting on TechnoJourney
A Teacher Speaks Out: Yes, you should teach Internet skills!
Peer to Peer Teaching – Students Become the Teachers
Internet Tour Guide Activity
Use YouTube Videos in your Classroom
Students Love Google Maps
Review How to Sort Google Images with Your Students
Teaching Internet Skills – The Trust Test
Wikipedia in the Classroom
Bookmarking is a Basic Internet Skill that can be Complex
Metacognition and Teaching about the Internet
4 Strategies for Reviewing Internet Search Results
When Should Students Start Using the Internet?
Should you Teach Internet Skills?