During the first years of my former school’s 1:1 device roll-out, I had many opportunities to learn what worked and didn’t work in terms of classroom management when using technology. The biggest issue I experienced was students who were using technology for purposes other than the day’s assigned task. Whether bored and intentionally looking for distractions or having good intentions in believing in their own capacity for multitasking, my middle school students had trouble using technology only for the intended purpose.
The school utilized Go Guardian, a monitoring program for Chromebooks which I found to be effective and easy to use. The three features I utilized most were the ability to see all students’ screens in real-time, the ability to view students’ history, and the ability to control the screen students see. Compared to other monitoring tools, Go Guardian was consistently reliable and free of odd glitches.
In order to avoid simply being reactive, I also drafted a contract for the class-set of Chromebooks my students used. Other than my concerns about students’ potential to waste precious class time, it was imperative that students knew expectations for treatment and handling of the device itself since it was shared by multiple students throughout the day. One student’s carelessness in dropping the device would result in multiple students losing the ability to use the device.
Below is a copy of the contract I used in my classroom. This contract was separate from the school-wide Acceptable Use Policy which students and parents also had to sign. I required the contract to be signed and returned before students were assigned a Chromebook number for daily checkout. I ensured that my department head and principal were on board with the contract and its content before sending them home. Utilizing the contract greatly reduced the number of incidents I had experienced in prior years.