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Setting up technology expectations in your classroom

Updated: Jan 5


As teachers, we know the start of the year always means many things- new stationery, getting to know you games and, of course, setting up your classroom expectations. We know that spending time setting up our classroom expectations early in the year helps to create positive behaviours amongst our students.


For many schools, students are required to sign a lengthy technology user agreement. This often encompasses school policies around technology use and is not very user-friendly. Whilst this document is necessary, and students and parents are often expected to sign it before any technology can be used, we know that it then gets filed away and only referred to when areas of the agreement have already been broken. Many classes would have a general expectation around technology- something along the lines of using it respectfully and safely. However this may not be explicit, or there may not be much discussion about what being respectful and safe on technology actually looks and sounds like. So why not dig a little deeper into your expectations around digital safety and wellbeing?


We know that spending time setting up our classroom expectations early in the year helps to create positive behaviours amongst our students.

Here are some ideas of how to set up explicit technology expectations with your class:


Make them co-created


Nobody, especially kids, likes being told what to do! Our students are much more likely to respect and co-operate with the classroom technology expectations if they can see that they have had a say in what goes into them- even if you’ve been sneakily spoon-feeding them along the way! You could split students into groups for brainstorming, organise the statements under specific headings (such as our 4 keystones- aware, clever, kind and brave) or even have students write their ideas on post-it notes and vote as a class for the most important ones to be included! If you wanted to do this as a digital activity, you might consider using Google Slides, Jamboard, Canva, Padlet or anything else that allows for collaboration and feedback.




 

Use Positive Language


Whilst using technology can sometimes make us feel uncomfortable or unsafe, it can also be a fantastic tool for learning, creating and connecting. It’s our job as educators to help our students feel equipped to thrive online! This is precisely why we don’t want our expectations to be a list of don’ts. As Richard Culatta (CEO of International Society for Technology in Education) advocates, "we need to make digital citizenship about the do's, not the don'ts". Encourage and assist students to frame these expectations in a positive way- what are all the clever, aware, kind and brave things that they will do when using technology?




 

Keep them visible


Like anything we do, if it is out of sight then it is probably out of mind. If your class technology expectations are filed away in a draw, they won’t be anywhere near as effective. Displaying them around your classroom as posters, sending them home on platforms like SeeSaw to involve parents and carers, or even s


etting them as your students’ wallpaper on their device are all fantastic ways to show that these expectations are part of your classroom culture. And lastly, as teachers we know that we can use these expectations to draw on when students are making poor choices, however why not also refer to them when they’re making responsible and respectful choices as well? Use your expectations as positive reinforcement through your class reward system, student of the week awards and even when communicating with parents. This way, they’ll be embedded in your everyday classroom routines and practice in no time!




 

We hope that these tips have helped you feel confident and excited to delve into your classroom technology expectations with your students. Still want more? Download our editable templates using Google Slides or Canva to use with your students, featuring our 4 keystones - Aware, Clever, Kind and Brave.





Laura Adcock is a primary school educator who has over 10 years of classroom experience, as well as holding a leadership role in the area of curriculum. She now works with Inform and Empower as a Curriculum and Content Director and co-presents the years 3-6 live stream incursions for students.

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