I was thrilled last year to be given a class set of ipads!! I can't believe what a difference they've made for my teaching! However, I knew that before I could hand them out to my high-school students I'd have to develop a list of rules about their use and a system to keep track of them.
My new students are very excited about using the ipads and can't wait to get their hands on one next week. However, before I let them loose I need to go over some of the basic rules for their use. I spend some time talking about how lucky we are to have them (one of only 2 classrooms at my school with access to ipads) and that using them is a privilege. Luckily the students really seem to pick up on this and respond well to the rules that I've established for their use.
The first day I allow the students on the ipads I go over the rules that I have posted in the classroom. (Click the image below to get a copy of the ones I have posted.) We spend some time talking about why the rules are in place and the importance of following them. And we talk about consequences... which are really very simple in my class... you break a rule, you lose the ipad for the day. You break a rule twice and you lose the right to an ipad for a month. Last year... I only had one student break a rule twice. (He somehow managed to put a lock on the ipad that only he could undo. Sooo frustrating!!)
After talking about the rules... I let the students just play! They love it! They take pictures, they distort the pictures, they watch videos, they web surf and they giggle! I let them get the giggly "oh my goodness these ipads are soo cool, I can't believe we get to use them"... giggles out of their system. It seems to work! The second time we use them... it's all business.
Luckily, the settings on an ipad can be locked down very well. My students cannot download programs, change settings, add / delete an app or do anything too terrible to them. Frustratingly, they can change the language (I once opened an ipad to see Japanese!) and change the wallpaper settings. Minor inconveniences that I can ask the students to fix... they do it once, get caught and never do it again! (Having a good sign-out system means I know who changed things!)
What are some systems you have in place for using ipads or technology in your classroom?? Have I missed something hugely important?? Would love to hear what some of you do?
To read more about why I love my ipads check out this previous blog post. Stay tuned for more posts this year too! I plan to write about some of my favorite apps and uses for the ipads.