I had a moment of clarity a few weeks ago and it had impacted the way I plan on teaching. I realized that as I, and other teachers, work with kids in that lab there are lots of things we just expect them to know. We want the kids to type a poem with the right formatting and I would see the teachers, myself included, get so frustrated when the students did not know how to do it. I then had to stop and think about when do we teach the kids HOW to do this? I do assignments with MS word in the lab but when do I teach them HOW to use the program? I did a lesson with the 4th and 5th grade students this month just going over some basic things the kids needed to know. The next time I had them they the had to type a short document using the formatting tools we had talked about. I was amazed at how much better the kids did. I did the same thing with saving to the server and saving as a 97-2003 doc with positive results.
I guess the point I am trying to make is we need to not be blinded by getting our students to use the technology, no matter how basic we think it is, until we teach them HOW to use it. The extra time I took to go over the things we THINK they know will pay off in long run. Now I will not have to tell 25 kids how to indent so we can spend more time on a polished finale product.
This is the same problem teachers all over the country run into when they get new technology and get no instruction on how to use it. Without training the technol is underutilized, if utilized at all, but the teacher is still expected to be making full use of the technology provided. This is a no win situation for everyone but it is the same situation I see us putting our students in every day. We cannot assume what they know....we need to teach them what they need to know.
Bring on the DARE reports, famous Missourian projects, and counting books because we know HOW to use MS word!!!!