Thursday, August 22, 2013


I know it's time.  Kids need to be using tools that they will be using in jobs and they need to teach me, but when is a good time to get them out.  Personal technology: iPads, readers, it touches, even phones.  This year our district has made it policy to let students bring their own devices, when it is appropriate.  I'm so excited and worried at the same time.  Today in class, students asked if they could use their phones to take pictures of their group whiteboard notes...yesterday, we were discussing incomplete dominance and a student asked if they could look up picture week as we begin our first quarter research project, nearly every student will have a device to use.  We are pushing forward using technology in endless ways to modernize learning, notes, and group work.  I couldn't be more excited for them and for me to learn from their ideas.

Then yesterday it happened. What I feared most when it comes to this BYOT policy: texting. Our school provides 20 minutes daily for SSR.  Some, even in my highly motivated room, don't like to read.   So, they were sending messages.  Rather innocently during another period, they confessed.  I'm not sure they realized it was a confession, but what to do?  I had to nip it in the bud.  Today I shamed them.   I told them how trust works with adults and how broken trust is difficult to repair.  I told them that this behavior jeopardizes everyone's chances of having technology at school.  I told them how disappointed and ashamed and heartbroken I was.  But I know with 8th graders, this will only buy me some time.

Anyone have this policy in place?  If so, what are the consequences of not abiding by the rules?  Shaming them worked this time, but if they do it again, I'll need to be as creative with the consequences as they are with the educational uses.


Michele said...

Hi Jena!
This is really interesting that your school is allowing students to use phones etc. We are not there yet, but I know it is coming down the pipe!
If students are caught texting again, is there a place in your room where they would be required to leave their phones, etc. for the period, and pick they up as needed? I saw a pin on Pinterest where a teacher had students line up phones on the dry erase board ledge and write their name above the phone. Not sure if that would work?
Have a great weekend!
Coffee Cups and Lesson Plans

Miss Lifesaver said...

I think another option is giving them opportunities to text each other within the context of class. Truthfully, texting is no different than talking... we just need to know when it's appropriate and when it's not... and keep it on task. I would probably warn them that I can come over at any time and ask to see their current conversation to help keep them accountable... or even that they have to add me to their group text so I can follow it (and keep it as evidence). But it might be a good a way to get your reluctant talkers to participate in meaningful conversations about texts.

RWB said...

We are full swing byot in our 7th and 8th grade classes. We only permit devices with screens 7 inchesor larger. this cuts down but does not eliminate messaging. We have policies posted. If students violate the rule their parent must pick up the device from the principal. The SECOND time the parent picks up again and privileges are lost for 3 days. 3rd offense they lose technology privileges for the year... No student got to the 3rd offense last year.

Caught in the Middle said...

Thanks for all the ideas and feedback! Yesterday the inevitable happened when a kid lost his iPhone. I know my kiddo in 7th doesn't have her own phone for this very reason. I like the 7inches or larger screen idea. I wish they had though of that one! I also called a parent yesterday for a struggling kiddo and she asked if he could take pictures of notes since he has a hard time keeping up. I know there are more positives to this than's just going to be a learning curve for me.

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Cassie said...

It is a constant challenge. We also allow kids to bring their own devices, but controlling when and how they use them is very hard. We have had some teachers in older grades have the kids put their phones on the corner of the desk. No reason to be touching it till your told. In my grade this year we have said you may bring your own device, but it can't be a phone or iPod. They are to small to do any real work. The kids can only have an iPad, tablet, or laptop. Those can't be hidden under the desk well while you text ;-) Now if we find catch a phone since we don't use the for anything it is suppose to go to the office and has to be picked up by a parent.

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