Innovation: Education

iPad management in the classroom: Did this educator do the right thing?

From our tumblr, an unusual iPad management situation with one educator who confiscated a student’s iPad during class and added a math problem before giving it back:

A maths educator confiscated a student's iPad and added a maths lesson before returning it. What would you do?

What do you think? Was this educator in the right? What do you think the student learned from this experience?

What would you have done?

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What do you think?

  • I get what the educator was going for here, but… they may have crossed a line. I think I’d be more concerned if that classroom didn’t have device-tech or was tech-poor in general. The overall tone of the action seems to discourage devices in schools.

  • I could actually see this as being a good solution to the problem of students playing games on their iPads during class. Our school has a 1:1 iPad deployment in grades 7-12. Teachers are always complaining about students playing games during class. This problem to me, is partially a teacher supervision issue but this might be a motivator for a teacher to be more aware of what students are accessing. An equation is a good thing for a math teacher to use while a social studies teacher may give a question to answer which involves finding a date that would satisfy the number he used, or an English teacher might ask a student to find how many adjectives are in an article or paragraph. The possibilities are endless.

    • Hi Kirsten!

      Thank you for taking the time to craft such an insightful and solution-filled comment. You’ve won a Hammerhead dual-port adapter for iPad and iPhone. Email me at audrey at with your contact details and we’ll mail it out to you.

  • Dug around a bit: school policy is that students aren’t supposed to have devices in class, if students do bring an iPad to school they have to keep it in their locker. It was the third time in the day that the student had it confiscated (apparently the other teachers gave it back at the end of class). Also, the teacher reports that the student was on Facebook when he confiscated it. So, it appears that the “return it at the end of class” policy was not working to discourage the student. Hopefully it will spark a discussion about the building’s device policy, and how to make enforcement of that policy effective. Also, the parents were supportive of the teacher. Also, 1127.

    • I do agree that if this was against an official policy that had previously been spelled out to the students in either an student agenda or policy manual, then the teacher was correct to take the device. However, to change the lock code and provide the student with a problem to solve to obtain it was over the top and unwarranted. The teacher should have simply taken the device to an administrator and had them to handle returning the item to the student.

  • This is a hard one to answer not knowing what the school policy was or what the student was doing that led to confiscation. That being said, we have a sign hanging in all our classrooms that asks students, “The technology I am using is relevant to the task at hand because…” Asking this question is a nice way to check to see that students are on task and hold them accountable.

  • I appreciate learning more about the school policy and preceding events: context is key. I think there are several issues at play: school policy, classroom management, student discipline and the relationship between student and teacher. If this was the third incident of the day, and the student was off task again, simply taking away the device was ineffective. Assuming the math was appropriate to the lesson being ignored in favor of Facebook, seems like a natural consequence for the student to have to invest time doing the math to regain access to his device. But the issue is a behavior management issue, not a technology issue.

    I really like the question posed by Sarah Ibson: “The technology I am using is relevant to the task at hand because…”

  • I think it’s crazy not to allow ‘ipads’ at all, but agree students shouldn’t be on fb during class. So I like Kirsten’s thoughts. This is a great and thoughtful solution to kids crossing the ‘iPad’ usage parameters. I’m not so sure about changing passwords….that’s another level of privacy I think.

    However, the question I would ask, is why does the school NOT have technology in their classrooms in the first place?

  • This will be a story that this student shares as an adult. Life lessons are things we remember-I appreciate the idea of being on the line with students-especially in middle school. Unfortunate that it is clouded with the ipad being a devise for gaming. What if the student was doing homework on it for another class? Still not the right timing but a positive use of the devise.

  • In an educational context, the student needs to be taught that this is a tool to aid in his or her education, especially in the classroom setting versus the social sites that young people are well acquanited with. It depends on the board’s policy involving personal devices as to how an educator responds to an infraction. Personally, this was a novel response to a problem.

  • Brilliant. This was the ipad the kid brought to school. Not the school’s ipad. My boys’ school will confiscate any device the kids are using during school. The PARENT has to come get it back. Believe me, my oldest learned- the first time he did that with his phone, I emailed the teacher and let him know I would be in the next week. I have never had to go in again.

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