10 Ideas to Reduce Student Laptop Misbehavior in Class

Three weeks into the 2012 Fall semester and it’s time for a little 1:1 digital reflection…..

All my World History students have laptops and we use them extensively every day in class.  Hmmm….

I ask myself these questions daily as I plan and carry out my digital lessons:

  • How are they working for me and my students?
  • Does their use help or hinder learning?
  • Do my students know how to use them effectively?
  • Are my students using their laptops appropriately?

Overall, I’d give myself pretty good marks on these questions.  I’d say that our MacBooks have been a positive addition to the educational experience of my students.  The laptops make the routine tasks of teaching less time consuming.  They allow students access to a greater variety of learning resources.  They allow for widely varied ways for student collaboration.  But most importantly for me, they help teachers prepare students for a digital world outside of school.  It’s not perfect.  But then again, what in education is perfect.  It can be a messy complicated road to success.

Our school had been 1:1 for 6 years now.  I think we do an excellent job at directing student use of laptops.  How do we do it?  How do we as a faculty motivate students to use their technology effectively?  I recently polled our staff on this issue.  I asked, “Given our successful integration of laptop technology into our curriculum, what are our best practices?  How do we curb student misuse laptops during class?”

The following strategies and tips surfaced time and time again as I tabulated the results:

  1. A foreign language teacher suggests use of a social contract to have students monitor themselves and their peers when using technology, especially on collaborative projects.
  2. A social studies teacher relates the creative seating arrangements he uses to keep no laptop screen unseen.
  3. Several teachers routinely check student internet histories.
  4. A math teacher limits the number of laptops in a group during cooperative assignments.
  5. Practice continual monitoring of students during class.
  6. Setting time limits on class assignments eliminate student “free time”
  7. Consistent and constant teaching of responsible laptop use and digital citizenship
  8. Engaging students in meaningful digital activities that are relevant
  9. Communicate clear expectations and rules about laptop use at the beginning of the year and follow through with them.
  10. Have a long term assignment available for students to work on when they finish with a daily assignment

Can we eliminate 100% of all student laptop misbehavior?  I’m not sure.  But thoughtful and reflective teacher practice can certainly get us close to that goal.

What are your thoughts or suggestions to reduce student laptop misbehavior in the classroom?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s