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Managing a 1 to 1 classroom

Managing a 1 to 1 classroom is not that different from managing any classroom without computers.   Students who misuse computers are not that different from students who misuse their notebooks during class to write a note to a friend, or doodle artwork.  But you have to be prepared for these kinds of things.  Any variety of “normal” classroom management strategies work:

  • be present – walk around the room, make sure the kids know you’re engaged in what they’re doing
  • proximity – move students who have been off task in the past closer to your desk
  • time – give the students an appropriate time frame to accomplish tasks – such that there is no time for them to be off task
  • be prepared with consequences – ask students to complete their work at home, during recess, or to put their computer away and look on with a neighbor (obviously depending on the task)
A fun idea to incorporate technology into behavioral management is a program called Class Dojo.  I learned about class dojo in one of my PLC communities on Edmodo – and teachers there love it!   You can track students behavior, whether or not their on -task, or keep track of participation.  Very handy… and it’s fun – the icons are cute little monster characters, and sounds that correlate with positive behaviors and negative behaviors.  (Don’t you love the student names in their demo class?)  I was just about to give “Brad Pitt” some positive points!!
Another kind of classroom management is organizational.  We’ve been using a combination of Edmodo and Google docs to accomplish this quite successfully.   Our students have set up folders on google docs which are shared with us, so we have access to their work when we need it.  We have also established a document naming system so we can find their work easily.  These things make managing their work online much easier.
We also use Edmodo to organize our classrooms online.   We use folders to organize links, files and other information that needs to be distributed to students.   We also use the Edmodo “turn in” feature to collect links to google docs, websites or projects.   Using Edmodo, we can post homework assignments, extra problems, and instructions.  In addition – students help eachother by answering questions, sharing resources and communicating for collaborative group work.  We also use Edmodo to communicate with parents and keep them updated on student grades, etc.


There are some classroom management things you just can’t plan for.   Like students who forget their computer at home, or bring it to school without charging it.  And they didn’t bring their power cord.  Sometimes student have technical problems which are both difficult and time consuming to troubleshoot.
At my school, our board made an unfortunate (in my opinion) decision to allow students to bring any kind of computer from home.  Out of 20 students in my classroom 17 have MacBook Pro’s, 1 has a MacAir, and 2 have PC computers in each class (1 Dell and 1 HP in one class, 1 Dell and 1 SONY in the other class).   This makes for a great variety of problems, unique to each platform.   I’m grateful for our 1 to 1 program and I know how lucky I am to teach in a technology RICH school and community (Korea), but this board policy has made technology integration a big headache for all of us in the 1 to 1 program.  We had to install print drivers and Microsoft office, each one took a full block period.   Needless to say, managing these types of tech problems in a 1 to 1 classroom requires a LOT of support from our IT office, and well as from the students and other teachers in our program.  We have a group of 6th graders who were trained as “Tech-Knows” and I do call on them often to help me or other students in the class.
Above all, the best classroom management advice I can give to anyone is ….. have patience.
How do you manage your 1 to 1 classroom?
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  1. I agree with you that with or without 1:1 technology in the class, the physical management is nearly the same. The aspect that I am figuring out right now is workflow. I have had students email me a lot for “check-in” type things, but I think we really need to start using GDocs more. Edmodo and Class Dojo also sound interesting. I will give them all a try this week. Thank you for the ideas and motivation!

    • Hi Laura – I do think Edmodo will make that a lot easier, though it does add another “thing” for you to check. The interface is very much like Facebook with a news “feed” … so when students write to you, it comes straight to your page… very helpful, ad one of the reasons I really love Edmodo … no clicking through a bazillion pages or comments … just scroll and you can read them all. Though the annoying “check-ins” might not stop – they’ll be easier to manage :o)

  2. Lauren, I knew I could get some good ideas from you! Thanks for the heads up on Class Dojo. I’ll check that one out. And I’m also excited to use Edmodo. I’m in a situation this year that makes it tough to have kids using technology either at home or in class. Edmodo just wouldn’t work for us as my kids just don’t have the access. But I’m looking forward to plugging it in next year and starting our online community hub. I also fully agree with your comments about how classroom management is very similar whether you’re using laptops or not – the base concepts are the same… kids need inspiring lessons, accountability, clear guidelines, and consistency in enforcement. I always enjoy your ideas!

    • Aww Geoff! We miss you over here!! I think you’ll really like class dojo, and no need to be 1 to 1. Where you are now must be such a shift from SFS in so many ways. They are lucky to have an innovative and creative guy like you!

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