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Effective Classroom Management Strategies for Technology

(Written by Nellie Deutsch)

Technology has developed in response to man's needs to solve problems and make life easier. Educators believe that the same principle could apply to schools. Integrating technology in the classroom can facilitate learning and address many educational issues.  Schools aim to provide effective educational opportunities for all students. Investing in computer technology at school supports the idea of student centered learning.

Integrating technology in the classroom may be a solution but it is also the problem.  Classrooms have changed in appearance. The learning environment is no longer reflected by frontal teaching where the teacher is actively engaged up front and the student is passively seated. Student performance has replaced frontal lectures. "It is difficult to find a "front" to the classroom because the focus is on learning instead of teaching" (McKenzie, 1998). Teachers are now facilitators and managers who organize the class and delegate work to the students. They are busy finding students meaningful "things to do [which] promote learning" (Cambourne et al, 2001). Organizing and managing a technology enhanced classroom is not easy. Teachers need to be creative with the skills of a manager and technology expert to "guide students to identify, select and use the most appropriate technology tools for all kinds of learning activities" (ETS, 2003).

Classrooms with computers or computer rooms need organization and management. Scheduling and rotation are an important aspect of the "wired" (McKenzie, 1998) classroom. Teachers need to plan ahead for student rotation in an efficient way. There are many variables that come into play such as the number of computers available for each student and the effectiveness of the learning activities. Students work at a different pace. Even in a classroom with a computer for each person there is a need to provide work for the fast working students who have finished the task and have spare time.

Teachers need to challenge students by keeping them occupied with appropriate learning activities. Cambourne discusses "what makes for a successful teaching-learning activity" (Cambourne, 2001). After nine year of research, he found that "effective teaching-learning activities were those [that] involved sharing, discussing, arguing, clarifying, explaining, making personal connections, thinking out loud, listening to others think out loud, negotiating meanings, and jointly constructing and interpreting texts" (2001) and using teaching-learning activities in small groups. There are two reasons for keeping students actively engaged in pairs, individually or in teams. First, it allows the teacher to work with other individuals or small groups. Secondly, pairs or small teams may be a solution to a limited number of computers in the classroom.

Collaborative and team learning requires new skills in cooperative work. Students need to learn how to get along, share and learn from each other. Forming teams needs planning. It may be necessary for teachers to "consider computer skills and specific assignment when pairing students, change partners if conflict arises or needs are different, have peers critique projects and give constructive feedback and have trained experts from the class help others" (Bray, 2003). Having a management plan is useful when planning an Internet project. The Center for Improved Engineering and Science Education breaks the plan down into four major management components: Instructional, classroom, technology and time (CIESE, 2000). The first deals with how to deliver student instruction s, learning objectives, curriculum standards, hands-on activities and project materials. The second component has to do with cooperative groups and ways of managing students in the classroom by keeping them occupied. The third assures whether technology resources are limited or not, there should always be a back-up plan, Internet safety and long term goals. The final plan deals with "the budgeting of class time and the development for a basic timeline for implementation" (CIESE, 2000). Adding deadlines is important because it allows for student accountability. Students work independently by learning the skills necessary to follow schedules and maintain deadlines.

Finally, effective classroom management strategies for technology, requires teachers to provide students with clear guidelines on school policies and procedures in working with technology in the classroom. Every school should have an Acceptable User Policy signed by both students and their parents on what constitutes proper behavior when using technology. In addition teachers will want to "establish norms for student behavior when using equipment to complete an assignment. It helps to anticipate possible snafus and decide how they will be handled" (WestEd RTEC, 2002). Every teacher should notice a problem before it escalates.

It may be necessary to rehearse the computer lesson plan before going into class (Western, 2002).  This would help a teacher think ahead and calculate how long the lesson will take, what skills students will need before the lesson, and foresee problems. "Students should be prepared to start work as soon as they sit down at the computer" (Western, 2002). Teachers should plan effective learning activities and easy to follow instructions to help students gain the most out of their computer work.

Good communication leads to successful learning experiences with technology and classroom management. One of the advantages of working online is fast feedback. Tim Kasprowicz set out to "bridge the communication gap between the student, the parent(s), and the teacher" (2002). He discovered a way to send the students' "progress report that tells them how they are doing and what they need to do" (Kasprowicz, 2002).  Tim opened an account with "SchoolNotes.com to communicate school information on the World Wide Web for access by their community of parents and students" (2002).

Tim Kasprowicz exemplifies how technology develops in response to man's needs to solve problems and make life easier. Tim has proven that problem-based learning can also help an educator gain higher order thinking that leads to creative ideas.

 

   References

Bray, B. (2003). Classroom management strategies for computer use: Strategies for organizing and managing a classroom that uses computers. Retrieved January 19, 2005, from http://my-ecoach.com/online/resourcepub.php?resourceid=459

Cambourne, B., Labbo, L. D., & Carpenter, M. (2001, November). What do I do with the rest of the class? The nature of teaching-learning activities. Language Arts, 79 (2), 124-136.

Center for Improved Engineering and Science Education. (2000). Project management guide overview. Retrieved January 18, 2005, from      http://www.k12science.org/training/projectmgt/index.html

Education Technology Services. (2003). Classroom and instructional management: Organization and use. Retrieved January 19, 2005, from http://www.edutech.nodak.edu/ndpcc/classroom/

Kasprowicz, T. (2002, May). Managing the classroom with technology. Tech Directions, 61 (10). Retrieved January 14, 2005, from http://xrl.us/epxp

McKenzie, J. (1998, March). The wired classroom: Creating technology enhanced student-centered learning environments. From Now On Educational Journal, 7 (6). Retrieved January 18, 2005, from http://www.fno.org/mar98/flotilla.html#anchor279688

My eCoach. (2004). eCoach opportunity: Classroom management for technology use. Retrieved January 14, 2005, from http://www.my-ecoach.com/opportunities/z7.html

WestEd RTEC. (2002). Classroom management techniques. Retrieved January 14, 2005, from http://www.wested.org/techplan/tk_cms.html

Western, M. (2002, July 24). Classroom technology management strategies. Retrieved January 14, 2005, from http://www.janinelim.com/bc/4thur/management.htm

 

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Copyright Policy 2003  Nellie Deutsch. Last updated June 30, 2005