Ask any teacher who has experienced it: having technology in the classroom is exciting and motivating for students. All they need is a certain amount of freedom to run with the technology and feel empowered. However, letting students loose on the Internet, or even within certain tools, isn’t always safe or conducive to a productive learning environment.
This is where technology rules come into play. With certain guidelines in place, students can take charge of their learning journey safely. The following tips can help you with this process.
Keep Guidance in Mind
While rules are meant to keep students safe, they can also act as a guide, telling students what websites they may visit and what tools they can use for specific tasks and lessons. Keep guidance in mind as you design your classroom tech rules.
Here are some examples:
- Use Google Forms for writing peer surveys. [Find directions here.]
- Log your reading with Whooo’s Reading. Log in at WhooosReading.org.
- Find the article for your weekly current-event assignment at newsela.com.
Start with a Digital Citizenship Lesson
The process of creating classroom rules is a great opportunity for talking with students about digital citizenship (and digital literacy). Have students show what they learned in the lesson by coming up with the rules they think are most important. Push them to explain what part of digital citizenship their rule is covering and why it’s important.
Nobody likes rules unless they feel a sense of ownership over them. That’s why it’s important to involve your students in creating them. There are a number of ways to go about getting their input. For example:
Ask students what rules they consider to be the most important, using a multiple-choice Google Forms poll or the MimioMobile™ app. Let Them write in their ideas with a text-response option. Pull their responses together, including as many as possible, and then present the final rules to the class.
Collaborate during class time
Hold a brainstorming session with the entire class. Write suggested rules on the front-of-the-room display, or capture them with an ink recorder system and email the file out to every student, or write the rules onto a poster board to hang on the wall immediately afterward.
Use Multiple Display Formats
Plan to display your classroom technology rules in a number of formats, making them available to students regardless of where they are. A few fun and simple ways to display them include:
Classroom Posters - Display the posters in multiple places, especially near the computers/tablets/devices and other student work areas.
Online Presentation - Create a Prezi or MimioStudio™ presentation to pair rules with imagery, videos, and links. It would be fun to create this with your students and then send it on to parents and other teachers.
Online Video - This is a great way to use your video-making skills. You could also pair students together and assign each team one rule to illustrate with a video of their own. Create a “Classroom Technology Rules” YouTube playlist they can refer back to.
Classroom technology rules keep your students safe and help guide them through their own learning journey. Involve them in creating the rules so they feel a sense of ownership over them, and therefore see more value in them.
Written by our guest blogger Jessica Sanders, Director of Social Outreach for Whooo’s Reading, a San Diego-based education organization that motivates students to read more every day.