Friday, February 5, 2016

Expectations for Student Device Use in Classrooms

I was recently engaged in a conversation with other educators of my PLN about a controversial topic that continues to surface in education. With the influx of devices for student learning, there is often controversy and differences of opinions around use, restrictions, and requirements for students. The conversation I engaged in was surprisingly rich and provided a variety of different view points. As a result, I seized the opportunity to reflect on my own philosophy and thoughts about the topic. The following are not suggestions nor my agenda in regards to student device usage but rather, the ways in which I've thought about and implemented practices with students for many years.

I've been able to find success in a wide variety of environments using this philosophy and some of the strategies have been designed with the help of my students. I've always seen the inclusion of student voice and opinion as a necessary component to making any "rules" or expectations that were present in the classroom. This strategy has helped me achieve high levels of success with even what some educators would term "the most difficult students". I've always seen it quite differently but that is a conversation for another time.

In thinking about rules and expectations for student device use in classrooms, I think it's imperative that educators consider first and foremost their audience: the students. If students and their best interests are at the foundation of any decision we make as educators, it can be very difficult to travel down the wrong path. Students don't always know what is best for them in the long run but they do know what they are passionate about and what inspires learning. Inspired learning leads to engaged learning and as a result, can greatly reduce behavioral or defiance issues in any classroom.