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EdTech Update




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7 things you can always do in my class with your device

Dear Students,

If you have finished the required work for my class, you may always use your smartphone, tablet, netbook or laptop to:

  1. Read a book, magazine or blog post of personal (and school appropriate) interest.
  2. Work on an assignment for another class.
  3. Play a pre-approved game that builds skills related to the class. (If you find a game that you feel contributes to your learning, tell me about it and why you think it should go on the approved list.)
  4. Have a serious discussion with a classmate about a topic in the course using an approved discussion tool.
  5. Listen to an educational podcast or view an educational video. TED talks and Khan Academy videos are always OK. (Remember to use your headphones.)
  6. Organize your life by reviewing/updating your calendar, to-do list, or address book.
  7. Write in your personal journal.

If you have another activity that you think I should consider appropriate, please convince me of its value. I'll listen.


Mr. Johnson

I have heard more than one teacher tell me that classroom management has become easier, not harder, when kids are allowed to use their phones and other networked devices in class. Bored too often means disruptive.

It's not the tool; it's how we use it.


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Reader Comments (8)

What games have you approved so far? Thanks!

February 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJess D

This is a great list! I've added it to my classroom management suggestions.
I would add creating a study set on Quizlet, or making a video for class.

February 8, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMichael Walker

Hi Jess,

My list would probably be irrelevant to you since game approval would be based on your subject, grade level and learning objectives. I'll be your librarian can help you find sources of good educational games.


Thanks, Mike. Your resource page is great.

I expect every teacher might have his or her own set of "approved" activities. Cool, so long as they are explicitly stated.


February 9, 2013 | Registered CommenterDoug Johnson

So enlightened and respectful.

February 10, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAllison Williams

Thank you, Allison.


February 11, 2013 | Registered CommenterDoug Johnson

I agree about utilizing the smartphones. I actually have students look up information for our class. I also have them use them in small groups to make sure everyone is included in case one or two do not have a phone.

February 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJanet

Hey Doug,

Which one of these is the most commonly violated? What do you find is your most common reaction/consequence to it? I have a list of anchor activities I use in much the same way but I really enjoy how yours is somewhat device agnostic. Well done!


March 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJeff

Hi Jeff,

Well, these are things you can do, not things you can't, so my twisted logic says if you aren't doing one of these activities you are violating all of them equally.

Glad you found this helpful,


March 25, 2014 | Registered CommenterDoug Johnson

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