A Simple Approach To Dealing With Personal Devices In The Classroom

I have long been an advocate for bring your own device (BYOD) in the classroom. I figure that if kids have tools that know well and use well, then there is no reason to restrict them from using them in the classroom.

Key word there: tools, as in apps for learning.

Too many of the teachers who are frustrated with dealing with personal devices often don’t take the learning tools approach. Instead of allowing for specific purposes they end up policing. They collect phones ahead of class or insist on no devices being out at any time. Kids at our high school have even started bringing old phones to turn in at the beginning of class so they can still access their working devices.

I’m not naive enough to think that every time a kid has a device out in the library, they are using it solely for a learning activity. What I do know from 20+ years in the classroom that kids for the most part respond well when you give them some clear expectations and put the responsibility on them to do the right thing.

Despite spending a lot of time on this early in the year I too have had some frustration with our students in the library who are taking online classes. Too many are “forgetting” or just seeing how much they can push our guidelines with personal devices. Usually a friendly reminder gets everybody back on track. Sometimes it takes a few reminders.

Here is a new poster adorning our work stations. The kids got a laugh out of the devices I chose but more importantly the “got” the message.

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