The next big step in my classroom after introducing the Kindle Fires to my students, was to allow them to bring in their own electronic reading devices.
This was a hurdle that I knew would be difficult because no other classroom in my building had done it yet so there was no evidence to base my belief that my intermediate age group could handle this. I would have to prove my position to my building principal. After sharing my reasons with my principal, the principal agreed that I could pilot the electronic readers in my classroom. It was a great feeling to have the support of my principal!
Before I allowed my students to bring in their own devices, I reviewed our districts policies on the use of the internet and electronic devices in the classroom. I wanted to make sure that I would include those guidelines when discussing it with the students and their parents.
I then drafted a letter that would be sent home to parents outlining what needed to happen in order for the students to bring in their own devices. I also have a distribution list of my parents, so I also emailed the letter as well to make sure it would reach them in two different ways. You can access the letter here.
On a Friday, I shared the letter with my class and discussed the policies that the school district has on electronic devices.I made it clear that the electronic devices could only be used to read books, and not for any other functions (apps, pictures, video...). If this was broken, the privilege of using the device would be taken away.
I am going on week three of the student use of electronic readers in my classroom and it has been going exceptionally well. The students are more focused than ever, and really enjoy having the freedom of reading books on their devices. I have made sure that they have been used appropriately as well, by monitoring their use during our reading time. But the biggest factor is the students' own policing of their classmates. When we had our initial discussion, my students brought up the fact that they could see or tell if someone wasn't using the devices correctly. You gotta love the honesty!
Stay tuned for more blogs about how I am using electronic devices in my classroom.