In the education world, a new school year signals new beginnings for students and teachers as well as for those working behind the scenes. We’re looking forward to exciting advances in educational technology (edtech) that will be rolling out soon to classrooms around the world as we gear up for the 2018–2019 school year. New edtech pieces inevitable come with their own learning curve. How can educators prepare to use these new tools in the midst of meeting new students and planning lessons? A little prior preparation can ease the transition.
Educators are looking for programs that allow “device mesh”—i.e., they will work on smartphones, tablets, and computers as more students using multiple devices between home and school. At the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) 2018 conference, this trend toward tools that work across platforms—often via cloud—was reflected in several products. ISTE is the most recent iteration of an annual conference that brings together the global education community and features exciting developments in educational technology. The advancements happening in edtech and featured at ISTE often illustrate the biggest and fastest-growing trends. A detailed look at the products presented at ISTE 2018 shows several new resources that incorporate students’ individual tablets and smartphones.
The idea of managing it all can feel overwhelming for educators who are just beginning to use tools that sync home and school devices. Device management builds on a very familiar skill set for educators called behaviour management. It’s all about creating rules and procedures to help the class run smoothly as Common Sense Education noted in a recent article titled Tips and Tricks for Managing Devices in the Classroom. Here are a couple of tips from the piece:
Create an acceptable use policy: One should be clear on when to encourage students to use their devices, and when do cellphones, tablets, and computers need to be put aside. To clarify expectations upfront, writing an Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) with clear guidelines and consequences.
Use visual cues: Educators should put up a poster at the front of the classroom that indicates when it is time for devices to be in use, when they should be off to the side, and when they should be turned off and charging. Similarly, taping a piece of coloured paper to the corner of each student’s desk creates a designated area for devices to “rest” when not in use.