At Flagstaff Academy in Colorado, I am lucky to head up the SmartLab facility and offer guided lessons to all K-5 classrooms. Couple this with 15 years of teaching technology, and you could say I’ve learned a thing or two about bringing technology into the classroom successfully.
Over the past few years, advancements in technology have greatly improved the classroom experience for both students and teachers alike. Tools like Chromebooks, SMART Boards, and even virtual reality headsets have allowed teachers to bring instruction to life and make learning more engaging.
But these tools are only as good as the classroom environment in which they exist. Truly successful education depends on teachers’ ability to create and maintain organized instructional environments that keep kids engaged and on task while encouraging the sharing of ideas and questions.
Unfortunately, that’s much easier said than done. It can be incredibly hard to tailor a classroom-management plan that takes into account all of the various personalities that make up a class. After all, kids learn at different speeds, and some are more likely to speak up than others. It can be tough to understand who needs help, let alone provide effective one-to-one instruction. Likewise, creating an organized structure–both physically and instructionally–is vitally important for focused learning, but often difficult to achieve, especially with larger class sizes.
Classroom management can be even more challenging in a one-to-one device environment. For instance, when every student has a laptop, tablet, or smartphone it can be difficult to tell if they’re doing their work or secretly playing Minecraft. How do teachers monitor kids’ activities and keep them on task?
Centralized classroom control
For me, the answer was a robust classroom management platform that brings all the needs together in one place. I came across a solution called LanSchool about 10 years ago and I’ve found that as the environment gets more challenging, this software provides me with the centralized control I need over all of my students’ screens from my own computer. I can easily see what each student is working on and if they have strayed off task.