Organizing Early to Avoid Device Breakage and Misuse

We had an interesting experience last year, at Auburn Middle School, related to iPad breakage and misuse.

AMS has six teams (3 7th & 3 8th). Last June, when we collected the iPads, we found that some teams had quite high breakage and misuse rates, and some had quite low breakage and misuse rates.

And what we saw right away was that the low-rate teams had done some things that the high-rate teams had not:

  • Worked on classroom culture (code of collaboration, rules, procedures, mutual respect, etc. – in general, not  iPad specific) before distributing iPads
  • Had a shared vision for learning
  • Had clear expectations for students for iPad use (actively taught them and re-taught them when needed)
  • Had clear expectations of teachers to use the iPads in class regularly for meaningful (to the students) learning activities 
  • Were thoughtful about including motivation and engagement strategies when designing learning activities (including those that include the iPad)
  • Responded to misuse in measured ways that were geared more toward getting students on track for appropriate use than on punishment

This was a great reminder of the success strategies from the beginning of MLTI (the original page seems to be gone, but Deer Isle has reposted it). The state MLTI team uncovered these strategies from visiting schools across the state and finding patterns among successful and more challenged schools. AMS’s trend data was almost the same as the original MLTI discovery: do these things, have low breakage/misuse; don’t do these things and have high breakage/misuse.

It confirms the conclusion from more than a decade ago that breakage/misuse is primarily a function of leadership and teacher practice. 

I’m not dumping on or blaming folks who have that higher rate. I’m much more interested in all of us learning from these kinds of experiences, so we can help all schools implement the more productive strategies and be more successful.