Many people have things they do to help to ensure that students remain on task while in class. If you are new to having devices in your classroom take some time to bend the ear of someone who has been doing it for a while. Chances are very good that they will be able to offer some very beneficial words of advice. Another great resource I was made aware of this week is the ISE Wiki. As it states on the wiki itself “This ISE Wiki is a collaborative guide to K-12 information technology”. It is chock-full of Ed-Tech resources.
One management tool that I know has been used with a great deal of success is Apple Remote Desktop. Here is a little blurb from Apple’s website highlighting some of the features:
As a classroom teacher one of the best features of ARD is the ability to pull up a view of any student’s screen. No more wondering if a student is on task or not. At any time you if you suspect that a student may be looking at a site they shouldn’t be or playing a game you can easily pull up their screen on yours and see exactly what they are seeing. This is powerful and it’s only one feature of the powerful ARD program. It has many more valuable features which can save time when managing multiple computers. As the name implies, unfortunately this software only works with the Mac OS.
Apple Remote Desktop 3, the award-winning desktop management system for Mac OS X has more than 50 new features that deliver improvements in software distribution, asset management, and remote assistance. Apple Remote Desktop 3 offers a wide range of high performance features, including lightning-fast Spotlight searches across multiple systems; more than 40 Automator actions for easy automation of repetitive tasks; a Dashboard widget that provides quick and convenient observation of remote systems; and AutoInstall for automatically updating software on mobile systems once they return to the network.
In my kinder classroom we are using iPads rather than laptops. One thing that we did that I found helpful is that when we introduced the devices to the students we really hammered device management. We made sure the students understood the names and parts of the device. We made sure they understood how it worked and that if they got stuck or if the device started acting funny they needed to ask for assistance rather than just ignore it. We stressed that they wouldn’t be in trouble but they needed to let us know so that we could fix it. We discussed proper handling etc. We did this for about a month every single time we used the devices. They are now experts at using the devices as well as how to take them out and put them away. They make sure that all apps are turned off and the device is put to sleep at the end of each class. They do a good job of helping each other out as well. My kindergartener class was very proud of themselves when the 1st grade class came to visit and they were able to teach the older kids about proper handling and use.
I also make sure that the students have time to play and explore with the iPads. If they know that they will have time to “play” with the iPad then I have found they are more apt to stay on task when asked to do so. The “play” time becomes the proverbial carrot.
Again I think if students are engaged in an intriguing, well planned and executed lesson they will be less motivated to stray off task. But of course we are all human and are prone to distractions. This is why we need to develop procedures and protocols with our students in order to ensure we are aware and can redirect when they are off task.
What sort of technology management successes or failures from within your classroom can you share?