“You don’t have a technology problem you have a discipline problem”
Wise words from the twittosphere! Across campuses across this country our students are bringing their devices(maybe more than one!) to school. How are we as educators handling this. Does your school ban them? Are you open to them? Are they praised for bringing/using their tools daily? No matter the answers to these questions more often than not some of your staff struggles with these foreign objects being present in their classroom. I present to you 3 species of teacher who struggle with devices in the class and a possible solution for their condition.
-disclaimer: i’m not an expert and these conditions can be contagious(of course they’re not)
1. Desk Campers: (Deskus Campicus): You will most likely find this teacher huddled behind his or her desk behind a stack of papers or in front of a computer screen. Not very likely to detach from the desk and walk around the room the students will shift their bodies and angle their devices away from the immobile creature. The time it takes to get up to move around is ample time for the students to cover their tracks and appear idyllic.
Solution: Getting up and moving among the students allows you to interact 1:1 with them and build relationships which go a long way in the run towards a well run classroom and obedient students. Part of the fun of BYOT/BYOD in my opinion is that once the heavy lifting of planning is doing you get to see what the students are learning on their own and they might show or teach you something.
2. Statues: (Pontificus Stagefrontacus): You will find this teacher perched or standing in front of the class lecturing or gesturing to a lecture he or she typed and put on a screen. This teacher only seems to remember the way they were taught but can’t seem to recall if he or she enjoyed it because their students aren’t. This creature believes that being up in the front of the room demonstrates control and intimidation from misbehavior.
Solution: Simply moving around the room as your deliver the topic will eliminate most issues. Going above and beyond get the students involved to the point where they don’t have time to wander off task. Some always will but you already know who these students are.
3. Late Adopters: (Scardycat phobius): You will know this creature because he or she will still be writing lesson plans in a lesson plan book or has a solar powered calculator. The terms smartphone and tablet don’t exist in their vocabulary. Any attempt to introduce or share technology to assist the students will be met with an accusation the student will either: cheat, mis-behave, or be a bully. All of which happened well before personal devices entered our schools.
Solution: Frequent and small group trainings with other distinguished(older) staff members. Someone in the building with a relationship would work best. Concrete, lesson examples of what has worked in your room. Drill down deeper to how you manage devices. Help them see the device as a tool not the objective.
Rare Species sighting:
**Laissez Faire (studentus friendicus): This creature can be found on the friends list of students facebook and following them on twitter. They are found in a very laid back environment that can turn hostile quickly because of unspoken or unknown expectations. Technology is present everywhere but educational use is suspect. Boundaries are known to be very flimsy so protect yourself.
Solution: Suggest and present good lessons on the appropriate uses of social media for students and adults. Place on strong emphasis on building proper online relationships pointing out manners and what to share and what not to.
Now that you have identified the creatures in your midst: HELP THEM. Come alongside them and show them the wonder of your ways. Show them the potential and possibilities of using the computing power in their pocket to help students discover their own learning.