By: William Lester

Managing Students Through Apps

Technology should be used in the classroom, most of us agree with that.  However, what kind of technology and how to implement it is a different story.  Before major technology (iPads, iPods, and even personal computers) the ability to build lesson plans that so that students were engaged and interacting was difficult.  Classroom management became more difficult with students constantly on this technology.  Teachers fought and struggled to keep this technology out of the classroom for years and finally we are saying, “if you can’t beat them, join them” (in a more of a collaborative tone).

With cloud technology, tablets are a great way to hold the student accountable for their work out of school and they have now become a great way to keep classrooms manageable through positive reinforcement.  The main trend with all of these is that students are rewarded for good behavior, participation, and interaction in class, but each one has a different aspect that makes it unique.  Here are a few apps that allow you to “reward” students for classroom demeanor.

The big app on campus is ClassDojo.  The great thing about this app is that it is not only for the Students and Teachers, but for the Parents.  Teachers have the ability to send a report to parents that highlight the progress (point system) of their student’s behavior over time.  They may also add remarks to the report if they would like to talk about a specific behavior.  This is a great idea for teachers to take advantage of before parent/teacher conferences.  This app can also be used by teachers to reward points in class through a SmartBoard, SmartPhone, or simply a computer with a projector.

Other apps may have the same concept, but they are able to reward students with differently.  ClassBadges allows the teacher to reward students with emblems and badges for certain accomplishments.  The students don’t actually get the same points for accomplishing tasks, but an actual badge.  The great thing about this aspect is that it can be broken down into multiple different categories.  Students can earn badges for individual achievements, teachers can offer certain badges for completing certain parts of a project in a timely manner, and teachers can even make custom badges for students for completing certain tasks or assignments.

The last useful behavior app is called TeacherKit.  This app focuses less on rewarding students for behavior, but keeping track of a student’s overall progress.  Like the other apps this is great for tracking a student’s behavior and allows a teacher to email a report of the student’s progress.  What’s great about this app is that a teacher can keep all the information they need about the student on one profile.  Some of the features include a gradebook, attendance, behavior and health notes, and allows a teacher to back up their database to DropBox so that you can restore your data anytime from the cloud.

As a teacher, it’s difficult trying to keep everything organized and the students inspired.  It’s great to know that with the internet we have an (almost) unlimited amount of resources at our disposal.  Even if you don’t agree with most of the apps, you still have the ability to contact an app developer and create your own to fit your classroom and teaching styles.  However you do it, take advantage.

William Lester completed his undergraduate studies in Secondary Education from Arizona State University. After college Bill spent some time teaching Senior Economics in Anthem, Arizona. Bill is currently a traveling teacher, who has spent time teaching in the Caribbean, Africa, Europe, and Asia, where he has taught English, Health, Geography, Social Studies, and Outdoor Education.

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