Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Hands Off!

It is the time for our Animal Research project (described in full detail: here) and this year we are using Google Drive to create the books! In the past few days I've been reminded again and again why I try to keep my hands off the computer when students are working. I've actively used a computer since I was a kid, which makes it easy for me to start a new document, insert a picture, and change the font. But, this project (and any time a project is happening in the classroom) is not about me.

When teaching my students to use technology John Dewey's quote echoes for me: "If we teach today's students like we taught yesterday's, we rob them of tomorrow." What will today's students need for tomorrow? I think they will need to be able to create, collaborate, and demonstrate persistency to challenging tasks. It will not be acceptable to not finish a work assignment because they couldn't figure something out!

This takes me back to my Hands Off! policy when my students are using technology. As I teach students the steps to change font size, change the layout on a page, or insert a picture I don't touch the computer (or at least try my hardest not to!). This starts to build students' retention of the process, as well as their muscle memory. And, builds and shows my students independence! After I have taught one student in the class something I ask them to then teach the next person who needs to learn that same skill. It spreads like wildfire and soon I have 31 students who can insert a new page, underline a word, share a document, use spell check, etc...

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