Classroom Management Tips

For the laptop classroom


We all know computers are an amazing tool, but it’s incredibly frustrating when they aren’t working.  It’s inevitable you and your students will need to do some computer troubleshooting throughout this process.  Here are some classroom management tips that can make the troubleshooting process a little less troublesome.  


  • Have clear procedures in place for what to do when something isn't working and share these procedures with students in advance.  
  • Should students ask peers or you for help?  What should students do if they need Help Desk support?  
  • Survey your students about their technology skills and establish a few students as technology helpers that can troubleshoot when you are working with students (“Technology and Classroom Management”).
  • Assign group roles and consider different technology responsibilities for each group member (El-Ashiry).
  • Identify students with other areas of expertise - ie: editors, data crunchers, visual designers, videographers (people with cell phones).
  • Teach kids to use the Help function and ask other students before asking the teacher.  It’s the old rule of “Ask three before me,” but one of the three must be the Help menu (Johnstone).
  • Teach students how to positively and politely interact with the HelpDesk - have them introduce themselves and the pilot program they are representing and then ask their question.  
  • Never touch anyone else’s mouse or keyboard. If you need to show someone how to do something, talk them through it.  They will have ownership if they are the one to do it (Johnstone).
  • Consider asking a student to verbalize the problem without looking at the screen.  If a teacher physically looks at the screen, they are more likely to ‘fix’ the problem.

What will be the troubleshooting procedures in your classroom and how will you share these procedures with students?  


Taking time to do a little classroom housekeeping can definitely save students and teachers headaches.  


  • Teach kids an electronic organizational system - managing files, file naming protocol, where to file (Johnstone).
    • In the beginning, ring a bell every few minutes to remind students to save (Johnstone).
    • Will you allow food and drink near machines?  What will be your expectations?
    • Test any sites you plan to use ahead of time (“Technology and Classroom Management”). Use the student Firefox icon for this.
    • Be mindful of when students need the technology tools and when they don’t.  Establish a protocol for what students should do when they don’t need their laptops (Johnstone).
    • Don't forget to remind your students to come to school with their laptop fully charged EVERY day!
    • Establish a phrase that will consistently be used when students should lower their computer screens (Johnstone).

      Lids Down
      Fist Rule
      Stick ‘em up!
      45 your screens
      Lids down, I want to hear 20 clicks.
      Save and shut down...5 minute warning.
      Nonverbal signal - music, chimes, light flash, bells, buzzer, timer, etc.

What housekeeping will need to be accomplished in your classroom?  How will you teach students these procedures?


There might be some additional expectations you want to review with students because of the new technology in your classroom.  Consider these tips and think about any others that may be helpful in your classroom.  

  • Consider posting a simple reminder about classroom technology use.  One example is the LARK agreement - Technology use should be Legal, Appropriate, Responsible, Kind (Livingstone).
  • Communicate your expectations about computer use at the beginning of every task. Simply saying ‘I expect you to be working on this program until you submit the work and receive my feedback’ will keep most students on-task (El-Ashiry).
  • Talk with students about their choices with technology use and the digital footprint.  “I’m responsible for my teaching and you are responsible for your learning” (El-Ashiry).
  • The upper left hand side of the desk can be a “docking station” where students store electronics (cell or laptop) when not in use.  That allows teachers to always see the technology and discourages pocket texting.
  • Practice what you preach!  As always, model the expectations you establish for your students.

What expectations will you need to communicate with students?

Anderson, Mark. Photo Cartoon #6500. Andertoons. Web. 31 Dec 2012.

MrCase. “Middle School 1:1 Netbook Initiative.” 2012. Skype in the Classroom, Indianapolis, IN. Web. 31 Dec 2012.

El-Ashiry, Mohamed.  “iClassroom iManagement - Tips for managing an iPad classroom.” Reflections of a Passionate Educator. Web. 31 December 2012.

Johnstone, Bob. I Have Computers in My Classroom--now What? Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 2006. Print.

Livingston, Pamela. 1-to-1 Learning: Laptop Programs That Work. Eugene, Or.: International Society for Technology in Education, 2009. Print.

“Multitask.” Photograph. Inkblot. Saint Leo University. Web. 1 Jan 2013.

"Technology and Classroom Management."  Learners with Laptops.  Tangient. LLC.n.d Web. 31 December 2012.