Some of the most prevalent challenges in implementing a one-to-one program include avoiding excessive damage to devices and, in take home scenarios especially, having students bring their devices to class fully charged. These challenges are not new in concept, though. They involve students being responsible for school property and being prepared for class, just like bringing home textbooks and bringing them back for class the next morning. Devices are typically more expensive assets than the average textbook though, and even when students remember to bring their devices to class, they are of no use if they forgot to charge them the night before.
It's one thing to manage student's use of the devices when they are in the classroom and a completely different thing to manage their behavior once they have left the building. Many schools have implemented standard policies including warnings, alternative written assignments, and ultimately call home. When damage occurs the cost of repair or replacement is often billed to the students' guardians. This can be a point of contention, although the cost is often off-set by insurance plans.
Surely the best method to combat these issues is prevention. Fortunately, educators are great at coming up with creative ideas for encouraging students to be responsible for devices when they are not at school. I have put together some of these creative ideas below.
The Punch Card System
I recently spoke with a teacher in North Carolina who shared with me that her school had started using punch cards to keep track of students' infractions. They had decided that if a student forgot to charge their devices that did not in itself warrant a detention. So, their Positive Behavior Support team put together the punch card system as way to keep track of minor offenses. This is also a method of communication between the teachers in a way. The students carry the cards from class to class, so the next teacher will know how many times the student has been warned.
Save Time on Device Checks and Roll a Die
Leave it up to chance! Instead of spending valuable time checking for every student's compliance, roll a many-sided die to determine which students will be called upon to have a device-check. With this method, students are encouraged to charge their devices and be prepared for class due to the possibility that they will be chosen. At the same time, students are also aware that this system is random and therefore fair, if they do fail the device-check.
Of course it will become obvious which students have not come prepared when it is time to use the devices, but if students are supposed to come with their devices ready every day regardless of whether they end up using them, this might be a useful tool.
Give Them Extra Motivation To Remember!
Set relevant goals for the class based on the main problem you are experiencing, whether it be failing to remember to bring the devices to class or forgetting to charge them at night. Next, determine a reward based on its practicality in addition to the enthusiasm it inspires in the students. Once the goal is achieved, keep to your word and reward the students. An example of this positive reinforcement method would be, “If all students bring their devices to class for a week, fully-charged, then recess will be extended by 15 minutes.”
Put Those Old, Boxy Computers to Use
Use of the school's mobile devices is a privilege. To foster the students understanding of their responsibilities, teachers can develop lesson plans that teach students how to use, transport, maintain, and care for the devices properly. If that does not work and a student repeatedly arrives to class without their device being either present or charged, the teacher can revoke the student's privilege to bring the device home with them for a fixed period of time.
This ensures that the device will be present and charged during upcoming classes, so that the student’s learning will not be hindered, but that the student might also be more mindful of their responsibilities in the future so that they can continue to bring the device home and use it after hours. I have even heard of teachers having students whom did not have their device ready work from the classroom's less desirable, older desktop computers instead.
Setting Clear Expectations
Of course, for all of these practices, the two most important factors are still to make the classroom expectations clear and to check for student understanding. To establish rules or consequences, some teachers may compose a list without student input, but keep in mind that student participation in setting classroom expectations may increase their investment in them. A way to effectively collaborate with students might be for the teacher to draft a list of rules and proceed to question the class about what characteristics exist in a productive classroom, using the students’ answers to build upon the pre-existing list.
Many schools are striving toward a one-to-one computing program, affording every student with learning-enhancing technology at their disposal. This shift logistically changes the way that an institution manages its technology. Schools that once shared mobile devices between classes, utilizing carts to transport, charge and secure, are now allowing students to keep the devices with them and, in many cases, take them home overnight. This does not necessarily mean, however, that carts do not have their place in 1:1 programs. With 1:1 comes new challenges that the use of carts can help tackle.
Until now you may not have thought that carts are beneficial in a 1:1 program, but a little more digging might reveal that they will come in handy for your institution after all. Learn more in my previous blog post "We’re Going 1:1, Do We Need Carts?".