Introduce some cool gadgets into a classroom and you can bet you'll have some behavior issues. From yelling out their frustrations to hogging the device, the transition to BYOD can take several routes in your classroom depending on your classroom management skills and your students.
Here are some simple tips to avoid any havoc that can follow BYOD classrooms if not handled carefully:
1. Hold students accountable - Have students sign a "technology contract" or have them create guidelines to promote digital responsibility.
Below are some examples of contracts used by other teachers. Depending on the students, you can choose a short and sweet contract or a very detailed one. If your class normally has behavior issues, be VERY specific in outlining exactly how they may use the devices.
Involving parents is also recommended, especially when they can help hold the child accountable.
2. Be a proactive planner - Anticipate technology malfunctions and plan accordingly.
From a missing charger, wifi going down, screen going blank and everything else in between, it is best to PLAN PLAN PLAN. One time I was playing Kahoot with a large (and very eager) group of students when the school wifi went down. My back-up plan meant connecting my iPad to the projector and using my personal network data to start the Kahoot while my students used their data to play. If a student didn't have data or could not use their data, they paired up with someone that did.
Fortunately for me, I got lucky because I had an extra iPad and some data to use. That may not always be the case for you so make sure to think of the worst possible scenario and plan around it, otherwise you'll have some disruptions to deal with.
You should also make sure to test or do a run-through of your app or website before using it in the class. Sounds like a no-brainer but it has happened before where an app will have incorrect information which ended up reinforcing a misconception that I had to later reteach...not good.
3. Think like your students - Would you participate in the activity if you were a child or teenager?
Ask yourself, would I want to do this if I were a kid or teenager?
For some students, no matter what you do, their answer would be no. But lets assume they will change their minds. Is the activity meaningful and does it challenge the students? One of the reasons kids love video games so much is because they are constantly being pushed to a new level of difficulty. Does the activity you planned do that? Or will they find it boring?
If they find it boring or redundant, you can count on them to be off task.
4. Set up the classroom for success - Seats may need to be positioned so that you can see students' screens.
In some classrooms, privacy is out of the question because regardless of the lesson plan, some students will get off task if given the opportunity. In this case, change the seating so that wherever you are positioned, you can see computer or tablet screens. You can place the teacher's desk in the back of the classroom or you slant the desks enough to see their screens from the front of the classroom.
Since you don't have eyes everywhere, mirrors can also be helpful as long as they're not distracting to students.
5. Do the hard stuff FIRST and then do the fun stuff - It would be much harder to switch from reading to games than from games to reading.
One thing productivity experts stand by is that you should get the hardest stuff done as soon as you can (usually earlier in the day) and then transition to the easier (usually more fun) stuff afterwards. This same idea applies to students in the classroom. You are almost guaranteed hesitation and disruptions if you go from something like Quizizz to Newsela, so plan your day wisely.
6. Think before you discipline - If the digital world allows you to address one student virtually without disrupting the class as a whole, take advantage!
If the students are working on a GoogleDoc that you have access to, open the chat option with that student and let them know, "Hey, can you please lower your voice when talking to so and so? Thanks for the hard work!" you are saving the rest of the class from being disrupted. This could also work using other apps or even email. Nonetheless, you should check out 7 Effortless Dos and Don'ts For Students That Break "Technology Rules" to make sure you're making wise disciplinary decisions.