Tablets, smartphones and laptops offer an excellent classroom resource for teachers. They endorse inclusivity, student engagement and autonomy, which can heighten students’ enthusiasm for learning.
The maintenance of these devices, however, can be burdensome for teachers. This article provides simple and functional tips which promote efficient use of technology in the classroom.
- Keep them charged
Teaching a lesson using mobile devices and discovering they are not fully charged is a teacher’s nightmare, so it is important to ensure devices are continuously being charged when they are not in use.
Tip: Establish a routine of plugging your classroom devices in to charge every morning, lunchtime and after school. Set a reminder on your phone!
- Store them in a secure place
Students often leave resources around the classroom at the end of a lesson, however expensive technological appliances should not be left unprotected. Storing mobile devices in a secure location in the classroom is vital to prevent theft and accidental damage.
Tip: Utilize a locked cupboard or box to store classroom mobile devices when they are not required for a lesson, and to keep them safe out of school hours. Ensure students always return the devices to the secure location and that they understand the importance of keeping expensive resources safe.
- Install security software
Internet safety is an important consideration when using mobile devices in school, especially as inappropriate content, viruses and fraud are continually evolving. High-quality security software should therefore be installed onto every classroom mobile device with the highest protection settings.
Tip: Ensure new and old mobile devices contain security software. Also, you should carefully analyze websites and free educational apps prior to using them in class, because some may display inappropriate advertisements or contain undesirable links.
- Update software regularly
Technical devices often require software updates to improve features, add content or fix bugs. It is important you validate these system modifications as they can improve the efficiency, speed and safety of your products.
Tip: Check weekly or monthly for system and application updates on your mobile devices. Install these updates at the end of the day to avoid disruption during lesson periods.
- Check for physical and technical faults
Technical equipment is unfortunately known for its malfunctions, especially physical damage from classroom incidents and technical errors such as unreliable internet connections or software defects. You should therefore monitor the condition of your classroom devices regularly to ensure they are all working to a high standard.
Tip: Inspect your mobile devices daily for physical impairments and technical errors. Also, create a written or digital document to record any problems so they can be easily tracked, reported to a technician and resolved.
- Ensure there are enough working devices
A common mistake made by teachers is failing to check the status of mobile devices and then during a lesson discovering that half of them are broken or not fully charged. Consequently, it is important to continuously charge all your devices and, as mentioned above, keep up to date with physical or technical problems to ensure the equipment is fully functional.
Tip: After every lesson technology have been used in, check the condition of individual devices so you are aware of how many are in working order and can adapt your future lesson plans accordingly.
- Set classroom rules
Due to the widespread use of technology in modern society, students may be inclined to undervalue the mobile devices being used in the classroom. This could result in physical mistreatment of equipment or conflict among students wanting to use a single device. It is therefore important to establish classroom routines which endorse the protection of mobile devices through how they are used, stored and maintained by students as well as teachers.
Tip: At the start of the year create a set of classroom technology rules with your students which include safety considerations, storage procedures and negative consequences for misuse of mobile devices.
These simple, but practical tips should prevent you being tripped up by technology in the classroom – and ensure your students use devices safely and effectively.
Are there any additional tips you would recommend? What experiences have you had with technology in the classroom? Let us know by commenting below.