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Managing device use in a BYOD classroom

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Started by Rebecca 04 Mar 2015 8:58pm () Replies (14)


I have a year 4/5 class where the children all have a device - some are using their own, some are using the schools chromebooks.  For the most part this is working really well and the children are really engaged but we are having some problems with monitoring the use of the devices particularly when I am working with a group or conferencing with individual children.  I am finding that during these times some of the children are using their devices inappropriately - playing games, sending each other lot's of emails or taking silly photos.  

So my question is does anyone have any ideas on how to manage 28 children's devices to ensure they are on task?  I've seen a few different software packages that allow you to see thumbnails of each child's device but they all seem very expensive. 

Any ideas??


  • Jane Armstrong Bos (View all users posts) 17 Mar 2015 2:27pm ()

    Hi Rebecca,

    Some useful examples of setting up BYOD in your classroom and using Hapara Teacher Dashboard are on the Enabling e-Learning website. Take a look at:

    In this video e-Learning leader and teacher, Peter Holmstead describes the purpose, introduction, and setup process trialing Hapara Teacher Dashboard.

  • Rebecca (View all users posts) 05 Mar 2015 7:06pm ()

    Does anyone know if you can get the Interact part of Hapara without the dashboard?  We use google classroom for workflow and seems to work well and is without cost so don't know if we'd use the dashboard. 

  • Rebecca (View all users posts) 05 Mar 2015 6:55pm ()

    I think the dashboard sounds like a good idea. As you said Sarah the idea is not to sit and monitor all my students, I don't even have a desk in my classroom and my computers always hooked up to the projector and being used for modelling etc so wouldn't be able to!! But I think it would be an incentive for those who do need some help with managing themselves and I would hope it would only be needed for a short time. 

  • Rebecca (View all users posts) 05 Mar 2015 10:58am ()

    I do see your point Ian and I would like to think that my classroom is an environment where children can express themselves, be creative and learn new things.  I do give the kids choices, I have a choices board on which different apps and programmes are displayed and from which the children can choose from if we are working independently.  We use story jumper and story bird for creating stories, have puppet pals, comic strip and lots of other really cool apps that they can choose from but there are still a select few students who don't choose to do these things.  During core learning time it isn't a problem, I use google classroom and the kids love going on there to do their follow ups and love writing in the blog etc but it's when I do give them choices that it crops up.  It is early days and I'm imagining it will all iron itself out, I think there will always be some students who I will need to be a bit more directive with and perhaps come up with ways to be more directive with them while still giving them some choices. 

  • Steve Trotter (View all users posts) 05 Mar 2015 10:57am ()

    Great call Ian - completely agree.

    My recommendation of Teacher Dashboard being essential is more from a teacher workflow end - not so much the monitoring. But, it is great to show the students that what they are doing can be seen. I have never seen a teacher sitting at their desk watching their dashboard - and if I did I think we would be revoking their Teacher Dashboard account!

    As for email, I think it is a 'ages and stages' question. Most schools have their Juniour school only using pencils and they graduate to pens later. I see the same with students only having Google Drive accounts and graduating to email accounts when they are ready for this responsibility.

  • Sarah Prescott (View all users posts) 05 Mar 2015 10:52am ()

    I can completely see your point, and the reality is that for the most part the relationships between the students and teachers are solid enough that it isn't an issue. It was something we implemented for the Year 7 and 8s as parents were concerned about the reality of students being able to go off task quickly if they chose to. We really only used Google dashboard for Term 1, and after that the students had a good enough relationship that they didn't chose to push the boundaries that way. It wasn't implemented so that teachers could sit behind a desk and play god, but more as a stop gap measure to have a concrete strategy in place.

    It is a relatively easy solution that can be implemented to help while relationships are built and boundaries are established. It also helped to stop some students from 'tattling' on each other, as they knew the teacher could see themselves. It's hardly used now that Chromebooks have been in our school for a year, but it is a tool that is available. Some teachers didn't use it, some did. The choice was up to them, and like I said, it is hardly used now that the students don't have the novelty factor anymore.

    Perhaps our experience is also coloured by the fact that our school as Year 7-13 students, which changes the interactions between students/teachers/students in that many younger students are exposed to older ones earlier than normal as there is no separation/boundaries between the different age groups. Also the fact that students are constantly moving between classes and teachers in a high school setting makes a difference to what I know happens in primary schools (generally).

  • ian suckling (View all users posts) 05 Mar 2015 10:24am ()

    Hi all,

    My intention's not to be high minded, but perhaps to rattle the cage a bit :)

    It's interesting that the focus is on technological, rather than pedagogical solutions. The image of teachers sitting at their desk 'monitoring' thumbnails of kids' screens is interesting. Is the problem the emailing and photos, or is it their content? When I'm working on a Uni assignment, I'm never focused and 'on task' 100% of the time. I make cups of tea, check emails, stare out the window, etc - and this helps my learning.

    I'm interested to know: whether activities and problems are meaningful & purposeful for the individuals concerned, is social / collaborative interaction planned for, is there student choice of topic/activity/tools, have the students co-constructed the desired outputs/outcomes, is the process chunked / scaffolded, etc?

    If they have a need to be social and have fun, could this be directed towards the learning intentions and gathered as evidence of learning. Students recording 'how-to tutorials', making animations or recording voice to narrate a picture story are all ways to focus chattiness towards a desirable learning outcome. 

    A quote, from somewhere, that I like is: Engaging students means getting kids excited about OUR content, interests, curricula. Empowering students means giving kids the knowledge and skills to pursue THEIR passions, interests, future.

    This is especially important for boys. They aren't 'girls in trousers' and boy behaviour is not always bad behaviour. They're physical and loud, but also sensitive, intuitive and thoughtful. As a grown boy, and father of a boy, I can attest to the fact that if the purpose isn't meaningful, boys won't invest energy or time. 

    I worry that the technological solutions suggested put a lid on or suppress the students' enthusiasm, energy, communication, originality, humour, creativity, etc and push their 'mis-behaviour' underground. Whereas, pedagogical solutions might guide, encourage, nurture, utilise these desirable traits.

    (Please be kind in any responses to this!)

  • Hamish McLean (View all users posts) 05 Mar 2015 10:31am ()

    100% behind you on this Ian.

    I'm the eFacilitator at our school.  300 students, with 1:1 from year 5-8.  And we are including years 4 this year.   So thats almost 180 devices on at any one time.  We are a GAFE school, use teacher dashboard, and for an extra 3$ per students I could look at any screen in the school from my laptop from my screen.  But we don't need to.  99% of our students are learning.  Because our students chose what they learn, and how they learn they are engaged.  There are very few that don't want to be at school, and don't want to learn.  The change thats happened over the last 3 years with out school, has been from teaching content (reading, writing, math) and moving on to a focus on:

    Relationships, Leaning Powers (how we learn) and Student Agency  (Reading, Writing, and Math happen as a result of these but are not our focus.. thank god!)

    Of course a modern learning environment is essential in this as students can lean where they want, what they want and how they want.  

  • Sarah Prescott (View all users posts) 05 Mar 2015 8:41am ()

    Hi there,

    We had a similar situation at our intermediate/high school and introduced Google dashboard to help monitor the Chrome books. It shows the tabs the students have open and also the documents they're working on. We just had it up all the time and the students now assume you can see what they're on all the time and it has curbed the not-on-task stuff quite a bit.
    Not sure how much it costs.

    Hope this helps.

  • Steve Trotter (View all users posts) 05 Mar 2015 8:33am ()

    Hey Rebecca,

    Are you using Google Apps? One option is to turn email off for students. We continue to have our email off for Year 3 and 4 students - has not been problematic for teacher workflow etc.

    Hapara Teacher Dashboard is the product that monitors students device use. It is worth the money.

    Hapara Teacher Dashboard is priced as follows:

    • $4 per student per year (annual agreements).  This cost includes Drive, Calendar, Blogger, Sites, Picasa, Parent Portal.

    • Interact, an add-on module, is an additional $2 per student per year.

    • Multi-year discounts are available.

    • 15% Chromebook discount for Teacher Dashboard and Interact bundle (must have at least 20 Chromebooks with the management console purchased for each).  Discount applies to the first year only.


    Hope this helps.



  • Melody McC (View all users posts) 05 Mar 2015 7:25am ()

    The boys do need to take responsibility for their choices, and accept the consequences of continued disregard for learning guidelines. This could include - not being able to use their devices - until they prove they will follow the guidelines, as well as involving parents in supporting the boys to develop self management skills. 

    I find parents are really supportive of appropriate device usage as they have paid a substantial sum for them, and want the students to use them for learning at school. 


    I hope this helps. :)


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