Safer students. Better learning.

Challenges with Technology in the Classroom (and Solutions)

Cammie Allen December 09, 2015


Giving students access to technology empowers learning and expands knowledge, but also comes with potential risks of misuse—intentional or unintentional. So, to help you deal with fears about 1:1 technology in the classroom, we’ve listed some common scenarios you may face as an educator, and provided a few solutions for each.

As the first post in a two-part series, below are situations you may encounter mostly in the younger grade levels—K-6.

Student Scenario #1

At the beginning of the day, you ask your students to take out their 1:1 technology devices (Chromebooks, laptops, iPads, etc.). As you start your instruction, a student announces they forgot their device at home.

Solution A

Schools with “take home” devices anticipate for students potentially forgetting their device from time to time, and have loaner electronics. If you have one available to you within your classroom, it makes things easier. If you need to track one down through your technology department, don’t jeopardize the whole classroom’s valuable learning time. Go ahead with your planned lesson, and have the student buddy with another. When it’s time for students to log on and begin working individually, locate the loaner device. Having to wait for a new device—which requires catching up to the rest of the class—will (hopefully) make students check their backpacks before leaving home.

Solution B

If a loaner device is not available, partner the student with someone compatible and at the same computer expertise level. If the assignment needs to be completed in class, ask the student to complete it for homework. To avoid additional homework, perhaps you can offer the student complete the assignment on recess time using another student’s device. This is only a good option if multiple log-ins are possible, and log-in and log-out processes are monitored.

Student Scenario #2

You’ve discovered a new app or educational program to introduce to your students and use in your classroom. Since it’s newly downloaded to each student’s device, you’re assuming they’re seeing it for the first time. One student disrupts a small group by working ahead and showing off how much he knows since his older sister used it last year. It crosses your mind that he may know more about this app than you do.

Solution A 

Remind the student that this is the first time most of the class is using this program, and that he’s lucky his older sister teaches him new things at home. This is also a good time to explain that each app provides so many learning opportunities in so many different ways, depending on how you use it. Compliment his knowledge, and ask him to keep pace with your lesson plan.

Solution B

Once the rest of the students are logged in and up to speed on the app’s basic functions, ask the student if he wants to teach the class something he already knows about it. Perhaps he can tell the class what he liked most—to get them excited.

Student Scenario #3

You’ve assigned a research topic for in-class time. As you’re milling about the classroom, looking over student shoulders, you notice a website on a student’s device and can’t tell if it’s appropriate. Without knowing the site and its content, you don’t want to make assumptions that might embarrass yourself or the student.

Solution A

Hopefully your school’s web filter would have blocked an inapproriate site, though some content can slip through the cracks of traditional filters. Start by asking the student directly why they’ve chosen to go to a particular site at the time that they did. Chances are, their answer will reveal both whether it’s appropriate and on-task for the given assignment. If you remain unsure, ask the student to find another site to use while you research it yourself.

Solution B

There are several resources online to ensure your students are browsing appropriate sites. Below is a list of a few comprehensive site for you to use.  

• Kid Safe Search Sites

• Safe Sites for Parent and Students

• Common Sense Media

Student Scenario #4

During lunchtime, a student accidentally left their device unlocked without signing out of a collaborative project, which includes a “comments” feature. You discover that another student made inappropriate comments from this account, and the perpetrator is unknown.

Solution A

Asking for a student to confess to bad behavior can be tricky, and handled in a few different ways. You may ask the entire class who did it, hoping you have confident and honest students who would confess right then and there. Chances are, the offender will not come forward in front of his peers. You can also ask students to come confess and apologize in private, which may yield more honest answers. Thirdly, if it’s not resolved with immediate honesty, you may decide that the whole class should take the blame.  

Solution B

A situation like this one is a good time to refresh students on the importance of responsible digital citizenship and keeping safe online

 Have you encountered any tricky situations in your classroom using 1:1 technology? We’d love to hear your stories and how you resolved it.

Topics: Safety

Written by Cammie Allen

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