I’m sure many of you have strategies for teaching your students about what constitutes appropriate technology use when they’re given permission to use their devices. What do you tell them? How do you model it?
This is a great discussion post. I think you've put your finger on one of the fundamental concerns/fears/issues of a one-to-one classroom. I think that in a one-to-one classroom we need to balance trust with observation. We need to trust that students are making good use of the device, but we also need to be able to observe students at work (in whatever medium or tools they use.) So I think it is reasonable to expect that teachers should be in a position to see student screens whenever they want to. We need to build a culture of positive use where the device adds to the student's experience in the classroom, and does not detract from it by distracting. I think it would be worth talking about where and when an in-class screen can be useful and helpful (as well as the opposite.) I think we need to model it and call out good (and bad) examples as they arise.
I was surprised last week when I was sitting in a trustee meeting with a few other teachers in front of me, and two of the teachers were using their laptops to look up some of the topics that the speaker was talking to us about. The thing that surprised me was that these were two teachers who I think would share the concern you've voiced above, so it was great for me to see them in this context (as students) making good use of their laptops just as we might hope students would.
"it demands that I provide a learning environment where the students feel that staying on task can and will be rewarding. " Yes, this is essential--and a key to a successful 1:1 program. I also believe it is important to pull students in, watch their eyes, their facial expressions--call on them if you think they've become distracted. Let them know you expect them to engage in and pay attention to the discussion.