BYOD creates new challenges for classroom management. Here are some helpful tips! Read them and find the ones that are right for you.
1. BYOD Signs
Get In the Zone Signs: Post signs around the school to let students know if they can use their device in that space. For areas such as bathrooms and locker rooms, post clearly visible NO DEVICE ZONE signs.
BYOD Reminders Signs: Perhaps you are only using the devices from time to time. Let students know when you have planned an activity that requires a device. Post a sign on the door to make sure they bring it to class the next day.
BYOD Permitted Signs: Post a visual cue that informs students when you want devices off, for example during a test. Create a clearly visible way for students to see when device use is permitted at different times during the class period.
2. Desktop Ready
As students enter the room, have them place their devices on their desk with their screens down. This will let you know which devices are available and who has their device. It will also save time in students having to get their device later from their desk, pocket, backpack, or locker, which can be disruptive and waste instructional time.
3. Spot Check
Enforce the BYOD policy. Verify that students are on-task by periodically checking their screens. Train your students to hold or turn their devices so that their screens face you whenever you say Spot Check.
4. Walk Around
Get up and stroll around the room. This will let you monitor student activities to confirm they are on-task and not engaging in inappropriate behaviour.
5. Screens Down
When you need students’ attention have them turn over the device so that the screen is down or close their laptop lid. Train your students to do this instantly whenever you say Screens Down.
6. Observe Body Language
Get to know the difference between what students look like when they are engaged in social versus educational use of their device. For example, texting friends happens in short bursts, involves only a few finger strokes, and is often followed by smiles or snickers. Whereas, writing a report tends to involve continuous typing accompanied by a focused expression.
7. Get Involved
Don’t just assign an activity – do it alongside your students. If you have access to your own laptop that is connected to a projector, it is a good idea to model completing the task. Your involvement will be motivating to students. It also serves the practical purpose, as you can suggest relevant resources, design tips, and pitfalls to avoid, based on experience.
8. Use the Device Often
Parents have spent the money and students have taken the time to bring in their device, which means they are expecting to use it. Make the device an important part of the lesson.
9. Team Up
If not everyone has a device, design lessons that have a collaborative component. For example, at the beginning or end of a lesson have students work in partners or small groups to take a poll, survey, or quiz. Or have teams compose a joint response to a question in the form of a post, tweet, or instant message. This will engage learners and maximize the use of the devices in the classroom.
10. Explicitly Teach Technology Skills
Many supporters of BYOD state that students need to know how to use their own applications and explicit instruction is not required. However, this approach is often not realistic and can place limits on students who tend to use familiar apps, without challenging themselves to try something different. For example, students on their own may not discover how to set up a blog, edit a video, or produce a Wordle. Throughout the school year, consciously design activities that use various apps and model how to use them to complete an assignment. Once students have gained expertise in using the app, they will be able to apply their skills independently to new situations.