It is so funny to look back a few years ago when we didn’t have chromebooks in every student’s hand. I remember how excited I was to be able to use them in my classroom. (Yes, I am a nerd for technology!) I had high hopes and great expectations…and then, reality hit me. My excitement plummeted when I realized that some students are just not capable of managing their time on the chromebook. And who am I to judge, I am a facebook/instagram/twitter/pinterest/candy crush junkie!
The most important question that I try to use to guide my lessons is: What is the best method to complete the task? It is about blending the old way with the “new” way. Technology is not going away so we might as well use it to make our lives easier.
I wouldn’t ask my students to solve a math equation line by line by typing it out. I would have them use paper and pencil especially if they had to do more than one problem. Some tasks are just better with paper and pencil. I have found that I use my Interactive Notebooks more now that we have chromebooks than I did before. I don’t have a textbook anymore so my students need something to show for the work they have been doing in class. My students totally bought in especially at the end of the year when they were able to look back and see all of the things they had learned. We use our notebooks almost daily in class. They may use the chromebook to watch avideo or to find the information but the notebook is where it is all kept. Surprisingly, I can count on one hand how many have been lost this year. They are that important.
I use the chromebook to organize my students and to give them a place to go to find our daily agenda. There are a number of ways to do this. For the elementary, it could be a place to list daily homework. I can either post this on the big screen or they always have access to it from my website or Google Classroom.
If you are having trouble, start small. We all have to start somewhere. Choose one place that it would benefit you to use technology. If you do stations in your classroom, one of them could be technology related. There are so many videos and research things that have already been created. Use them!!! You don’t have to make everything from scratch. Right now, the stations that I am using have different themes. They Watch it, Research it, Organize it, Explore it, Assess it, Write it, and Illustrate it.
I find that my students have a much easier time following me when I give them a video showing them how to do something. If it doesn’t involve a game, they don’t know how to do it. I record my screen as I walk through the task. They can pause it, stop it and rewatch it as many times as they want. Do they still have questions? Seriously? I teach middle school, did you forget? But, it is much easier to help a few and let the rest go on instead of keeping all of them behind. I find that the videos hold their attention better than me trying to talk them through it in the front of the room. Screencastify is amazing for this!!!! (Stay tuned for more on that later.)
Do what makes your life easier and what is best for the task at hand! If technology isn’t better, don’t use it. If it can make things easier, then go for it. Jump in with both feet and don’t be afraid to try.