Classroom management

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Using ICTs to support classroom management

Krista Hamilton, Memorial University of Newfoundland

See also: Classroom management software


When students do not behave the way that is expected of them in the classroom, these inappropriate behaviors create a problem for teachers (Finn & Pannozzo, 2004). These teachers, who must use their time to correct challenging behaviors, are left with less time for teaching (Ikoya & Akinseinde, 2010). Many avenues of correction are exhausted for these disruptive students with no solution found (Condon & Tobin, 2001). In some cases these challenging behaviours are being encouraged and maintained by attention from other students and redirection from teachers (Condon & Tobin, 2001). Laffey, Espinosa, Moore and Lodree (2003) also observed that teachers with a high number of student conduct issues spent a large amount of time attending to these behaviors with little success.

Ikoya and Akinseinde (2010) concluded that the inadequacies of new teachers contribute to poor classroom management skills. It is when these skills are lacking that discipline problems arise within a class (Ikoya & Akinseinde, 2010). Yilmaz and Cavas (2008) determined that there was a significant difference between teachers’ beliefs about classroom management during schooling and during their first teaching assignment and that there is a gap between theory and practice in classroom management that needs to be bridged. Mahon, Byrant, Brown and Kim (2010) also found that pre-service teachers do not have enough experience maintaining proper student behaviors in a variety of settings.

Finn and Pannozzo (2004) examined student behaviour in terms of learning and social behaviors. They found that when a student engages in disruptive behaviour, learning is hindered. Hung and Lockard (2007) observed that “children who are impulsive, inattentive, and over-active not only disrupt the home and classroom, but also have difficulty learning and achieving” (p.21). The author noted that teachers face great challenges in developing strategies to overcome these inappropriate behaviors that negatively affect the classroom learning environment.

Role of ICTs

Laffey et al. (2003) found that the features of high-quality ICTs provide a learning context in which children with problem behaviors can succeed. The results of their study indicated that the implementation of ICTs into the classroom has the potential to engage children with even the most substantial behavior problems. In a study by Ottenbreit-Leftwich, Glazewski, Newby and Ertmer (2010), interviews with teachers revealed that students who were engaged in technology learning activities were more motivated and participated more. One teacher stated that some students, who normally refused to do assignments in class, were on-task and working when given a computer-based assignment.

The results of a survey of university students concluded that students felt a loss of technology use by the instructor would cause the class to be less attentive (Lavin, Korte & Davies, 2011). Lavin et al. (2011) also found that students surveyed were more likely to be engaged in note taking during a class that incorporated technology.

The benefit of using ICTs to improve student behavior is also evident in a study by Solomonidou, Garagouni-Areou and Zafiropoulou (2004). They found that pupils with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) symptoms sat still longer and were more attentive during collaborative work when they operated the computer (used the mouse or keyboard) as it catered to their kinetic needs. According to this study, ICT helped students with ADHD symptoms by allowing them to interact as much as possible with the environment. Jones and Love (2012) found that digital-based social narratives are also a way to engage students in technology while helping them work on their behavior and social skills in the classroom. They noted that positive behavior changes can come from social narratives in the form of video modeling, PowerPoint and digital photography.

Hung & Lockard (2007) identified another way that technology can be used to aid in classroom management situations, which is through a technology-based support system. They noted that the system would provide a quick reference and guideline to help teachers identify problem behaviors and refer to guidance for the situation. Teachers found the system convenient and good for providing knowledge about behavior that they otherwise may not have known (Hung & Lockard, 2007). Lee and Powell (2005) also developed a technology-based system aimed at teachers and their classroom management strategies. Their system simulated classroom discipline scenarios and then they analyzed teachers’ discipline styles before and after using the simulator. One participant reported that the system made her think about situations she may not have otherwise been prepared for and she now felt she acquired the situational knowledge needed to properly react. A study by Choi and Lee (2009) found that a technology-based scenario simulator promoted in-class problem-solving abilities of pre-service teachers. As well, Anderson and Lignugaris (2006) found that 88% of preservice teachers rated a technology-based classroom management simulator as helpful.


Ottenbreit-Leftwich et al. (2010) highlighted the fact that when ICTs are not implemented in a student-centered fashion, student engagement is lower which allows room for misbehavior. Lavin et al. (2011) also found that how the ICTs are implemented is a determining factor in student behavior. If teacher beliefs about ICTs are negative or uninformed, implementation can be hindered (Ottenbreit-Leftwich, 2010). By allowing teachers to observe classrooms in which ICTs have a positive impact on learning and behavior, teachers are more likely to integrate ICTs into their lessons (Ottenbreit-Leftwich et al., 2010).

Laffey et al. (2003) and Lavin et al. (2011) highlighted the fact that classrooms vary in location, socioeconomic backgrounds, learning styles, quality of teaching and class size. Yet, several studies have stated it is a matter of taking the time to ensure that the ICTs being used are specific and relevant to the particular situation (Jones & Love, 2012; Laffey et al., 2003; Solomonidou et al., 2004). Solomonidou et al. (2004) found that ICTs (videos and narratives in particular) were most beneficial to students with ADHD symptoms when they were short, as longer videos and narratives showed no positive correlation with behavior. Laffey et al. (2003) also indicated that ICTs programs need to be challenging and respond to the child’s immediate situational need in order to be effective in improving behavior. They also predicted that having the student be able to choose the software program used will lessen behavior problems.

Works cited

Anderson, D.H., & Lignugaris, K.B. (2006). Video-case instruction for teachers of students with problem behaviors in general and special education classrooms. Journal of Special Education Technology, 21(2), 31.

Battersby, D. (2008) Classroom Management. British Journal of Educational Technology, 6(39), 1138-49.

Choi, I., & Lee, K. (2009). Designing and implementing a case-based learning environment for enhancing ill structured problem solving: Classroom management problems for prospective teachers. Educational Technology Research and Development, 57(1), 99-129.

Condon, K.A., & Tobin, T.T. (2001). Using electronic and other new ways to help students improve their behavior. Teaching Exceptional Children, 34(1), 44.

Finn, J.D & Pannozzo, G.M. (2004). Classroom organization and student behaviour in Kindergarten. The Journal of Educational Research, 98(2), 79-91

Hung, W.C., & Lockard, J. (2007). Using an advance organizer guided behavior matrix to support teachers’ problem solving in classroom behavior management. Journal of Special Education Technology, 22(1), 21.

Ikoya, P.O. & Alkinseinde, S. (2010). Classroom management competencies of intern-teachers in Nigeria secondary schools. Educational Research Quarterly, 34(1), 35.

Jones, J. & Love, S. (2012). Living social: How to use social stories as behavior intervention. i-Manager’s Journal on School Educational Technology, 8(3), 9

Laffey, J.M., Espinosa, L., Moore, J. & Lodree, A. (2003). Supporting learning and behavior of at-risk young children: Computers in urban education. Journal of Research on Technology in Education, 35(4), 423.

Lavin, A.M., Korte, L., & Davies, T.L. (2011). The impact of classroom technology on student behavior. Journal of Technology Research, 2(1), 1.

Lee, S. & Powell, J. (2005). Using computer-based technology to determine emergent classroom discipline styles in preservice teacher education. Journal of Educational Technology Systems, 34(1), 83-110.

Mahon, J., Bryant, B., Brown, B. & Miran, K. (2010). Using second life to enhance classroom management practice in teacher education. Educational Media International, 47(2), 121-134

Ottenbreit-leftwich, A.T., Glazewski, K.D., Newby, T.J., & Ertmer, P.A. (2010). Teacher value beliefs associated with using technology: Addressing professional and students needs. Computers & Education, 55(3), 1321- 1335.

Solomonidou, C., Garagouni-Areou, F., & Zafiropoulou, M. (2004). Information and communication technologies (ICT) and pupils with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms: Do the software and the instruction method affect their behavior? Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia, 13(2), 109.

Yilmaz, H., & Cavas, P.H. (2008). The effect of the teaching practice on pre- service elementary teachers’ science teaching efficacy and classroom management beliefs. Eurasia Journal of Mathematics, Science and Technology Education, 4(1), 45-54.