By Mark Winegar on Sat, 09/22/2012
I grow weary of teacher complaints about laptops and smartphones in the classroom.
"Who is managing their classroom?", I often wonder.
A professional commands attention. She speaks loudly enough for everyone in the room to hear. Her tone is dynamic. There is passion in her voice. She uses her body language to focus attention on her message. She walks around the room as she speaks. She knows what her students are doing. And if one is out in the world wide weeds she "closes the gap".
Closing the gap is a technique in which the speaker continuously raises her voice while moving closer to her unattentive student until she is within their personal space. She stops as soon as the pupil looks up and thanks them for their attention.
Flipped classrooms prioritize student learning. The objective is not to reinforce the "sage on the stage" but rather to engage the student in learning. So, give the students something interesting and challenging to do. Assigning group work often brings peer pressure to bear on distracted students as well.
Since the complaint is student use of personal computing devices in class why not engage them as learning tools? Ask students to Google a topic and contribute what they find. Or give them a specific question to research. In this way you keep on topic, engage them in learning, and model constructive computing.
When confronted with a hard case who just won't respond turn technology to your advantage by documenting their misbehavior with your iPhone. The Camera app still makes the sound of a shutter so your student knows you've taken a picture. If necessary you can always email it to their parent(s).
Be a coach and mentor but remember you are in charge.
Sent from my iPad