Sorry for the lateness of this post. Monday evenings continue to be a challenge for me to get a blog post written because we have staff meetings after school lets out and then I have a short period of time to get ready for my graduate course in the evening.
As I’ve been continuing to explore ways to utilise the Chromebooks in my classroom, I’ve discovered a lot of incredibly useful websites that facilitate meaningful independent practice for students while I am working with small groups or conferencing one-on-one with students. I’ve written about several of these tools and resources in the past few months. I’ve discovered a couple of new tools, but I’m not ready to review any of them quite yet.
One side benefit of these tools I’ve recently discovered is the ability to more efficiently track my students’ on-task behaviour. In the past, I have had to leave a small group or plan for breaks between conferences to monitor students. Now, however, I can keep an eye on what they are doing simply by checking the websites they are working on. Although we have many different tools to use in my room, I tend to assign students to work on specific sites at specific times. Then I can go onto my teacher dashboard and see what they have been doing. Being able to monitor students’ behaviour is not just something that lets me know if they are on-task or not, though; it also lets me see what they are working on so I can provide more meaningful interventions, either for reteaching or for enrichment.
There is software that exists that will let me monitor students’ online activity in real time, but since it costs several hundred dollars and I am teacher with a very limited budget, I’ll have to rely on the monitoring tools I have at my disposal. And, of course, I still get up and walk around the room to see what students are up to. And if I notice that someone is doing something they aren’t supposed to be doing, I can pull it up on their history and take a screen capture for future reference or for further instruction on the proper use of our technology tools.
(On a completely unrelated note, this was my 800th post!)