Even though it’s October it still feels very much like the beginning of the year. One of the first thoughts that many teachers have about their students is “they look so little!” It’s true. Those tall confident students that left us have gone on to be “little” to next year’s teacher and we have our own new crop of “little” people to educate. This becomes even more pronounced in a technology classroom. Everything takes longer, typing, starting, opening, finding, searching. Whatever it is they need time to figure it out. Patience is key. So what can we do?
- Remember to go slow: after all many of our students are experiencing some of these technology tools for the first time. Even if they have devices at home they probably don’t use them for much more than playing games or surfing the internet.
- Find your specialists: there will be some students who do know how to do things or pick them up very quickly. Start sending kids their way to address minor issues and questions. Have them teach a quick lesson to the class on some basics.
- Create lots of visuals: Anchor charts for technology are just as important as they are in every other subject. These visual reminders help students to know what to do and to start developing a sense of independence.
- Be realistic: Things will take more time. They just will. You have to go slow to go fast later. It’s okay.
- Build from the ground up: When I have students learning a new app I use it a few times in either the same subject or across subjects within a week. Their first “project” or experience is filled with play and experimentation. As we gather examples from the class I start to show student work and we tease out elements or things the class has done that we like and want to emulate.