Monday, 11 March 2013

Discipline in the Tablet classroom.

Over the past few days teachers at my school have been debating the methods of maintaining discipline in a classroom where every pupil has access to a device and/or the internet and/or a whole variety of brilliant distractions!

One of the most popular suggestions was the removal of the device from the student and, while that is effective, I am not sure if it the way to go if, as a school, we are promoting of these devices as an alternative to a workbook or textbook. Would we confiscate a textbook as punishment?

If this is not the way, what can we do to promote a respectful and disciplined atmosphere while using these devices?

To answer this I went online and found the blog http://educationelements.com/tag/blended-classrooms. In this blog the following advice was given as a starting point for discipline in the blended classroom:

'1. Students need to be taught how to become online learners.
We often assume that since many students are “digital natives,” they will naturally know how to learn online. This is an incorrect assumption. We need to spend time at the beginning of the school year modeling online learning for students and developing accountability tools and procedures to help students take responsibility for, and ownership of, their own learning.'

(Posted by Abbey Goldstein on February 14, 2013)

Although this blog refers to the blended classroom too often teachers and parents 'assume' that the children know more about the technology than they do and in cases of the use of and ability to manipulate the hardware and software this could be true, however I believe it is vital to teach them how to use the tools in a responsible way. 

In order for this to be successful a school has to have a consistent way of dealing with inappropriate on-line and on-device behaviour that does not involve confiscating the device. This has to start with a policy that lets the pupils know what is expected of them and describes the consequences of not following the rules.

So:

1) Make the pupil aware of the responsibility they have to operate the device in a proper manner.

2) Make the teacher aware that it is still a classroom and that they need to be active and aware teachers. Things will go wrong if you sit behind a desk and allow access.

3) Have an active parent awareness campaign. The parents are your partners in this and need to be active users of the device.

4) When there are consequences for misuse in place they must be acted on at the correct time and by all the teachers consistently.

5) Recognise that things will go wrong and be adaptable, teaching a pupil that things change fast on the net is part of the process.

That's it for now!