Classroom Management Tips in the 1:1 Environment

One of the constant questions I get now that the middle and high schools are both 1:1, is how the heck do you manage your classroom? What are some best practices? I think that's part of why some teachers seem to be too nervous about them to really give it a shot. So I went out looking for what other integrators had to say.

That's when I came across 's blog called Nocking the Arrow and his post from February of this year about classroom management in a 1:1 environment. I have included his tips here and added in my thoughts and resources, which are highlighted in yellow, along the way to help.

Here are some suggestions to better manage your 1:1 classroom.

Instructional Design

  • Classroom management should focus on the students. What worked previously in managing the students will continue to work, even in the technology supported environment.
  • Anticipate the worst, hope for the best. Have a plan to deal with off-task, or disruptive behavior.
  • Be attentive to instructional design. Create and use lesson plans that emphasize student learning
  • Challenge the students to be continually active and engaged. Leave no time for off-task behavior or boredom
  • Differentiate and personalize student work. Accommodate ability levels, learning styles, and learning challenges with a variety of learning, and assessment options.
  • Empower students by helping to make their learning personal and meaningful. Inquiry-based, connectivist, constructivist lessons will create opportunities for students to take responsibility for their learning. (self-regulated learners)

Student Management Strategies

  • Facilitate learning and promote attentiveness through proximity. Move around the learning area and use distance to influence behavior.
  • Set expectations for hands-on, hands off time for learning tools. If the teacher closes the iPad, only the teacher may reopen it. The technology tool time out. For us, the idea would be to have lids down or closed. Closing them all the way would put the computer to sleep, so some opt to just have them almost closed instead.
  • Take time to practice putting the iPads into sleep mode. This instant on, instant off capability comes in handy when requesting undivided attention from students.
  • Foster a learning community that thrives on collaborative work. Create back channels for students to stay engaged during classroom discussions (Today's Meet, or Twitter chat)
  • Use timers to help students stay focused and on task. Time limitations and expectations help keep students on a challenging, but productive pace. If you type in 5 minute timer in to Google, it will automatically start a timer within your browser for you. You can have the time set to anything you'd like. It will beep when the time is up.
  • Clearly share expectations and guidelines with students. Empower students to help create and communicate behavioral expectations. Model digital responsibility, social media etiquette, and digital learning for your students.
  • Use the room layout to promote periods of cooperation (pods) vs. periods of independent work or assessment (rows). If your students are in rows, try to arrange your room so that your desk is in the back. Then you go towards the front to use your board.
  • Take time to practice using the iPads for specified purposes. Establish procedures to deal with technical issues when they occur. Identify student tech leaders that can assist you and other students with technology. Do not be afraid to use your kiddos to help with technology! Oftentimes they know more than you do in the first place. Using them will make them feel more valuable in class.
  • Identify tell-tale signs when students are off task. These may include; screen-fixated eyes, typing off normal pace, color reflections that don't match the rest of the class, reactions or emotions that don't match the activity. Also if they have their hands in the same places on their keyboard all the time without them moving such as around where the arrow keys are.

Other Considerations

  • Technology won't fix pre-existing student management issues
  • Boring lessons are still boring with technology
  • More technology doesn't necessarily mean more, or better learning
  • What are your consequences for misbehavior? Is there complete classroom awareness? 

Additional Resources


I think he has some really good pointers for us all to think about. Be sure to go and check out his blog because he has a lot of good stuff on there to read over. As always, let me know what you think about this post!

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