I have been preparing for school this week by cleaning up my student computers. I started thinking about how computers have changed my classroom with my students. I also thought about how it has changed my prep at the beginning of the year.
At the end of the school year we asked our district Tech department to image one computer and copy it to all the student computers. It turned out to be a job they thought to time consuming. So here I am cleaning, installing, and updating my classroom computers. I learned that having 1:1 means doing most of my own work on my computers. This helps me with a few things though.
• I get to know the computers and what their limitations are.
• I find out what the students have been up to (pictures, bookmarks, file management or lack thereof)
• I see what needs to be done so I can train my students management of updates, files, and and basic computer usage.
This needs to be lesson to us and we wish for the latest and greatest. We need it if we are going to prepare young minds for the future. But with new technology comes new responsibility also. We need to learn to manage what we get. This is a big deterrent for teachers that do not want more on their plates. What are the trade-offs? To me the trade-off is the numbering of books and papers, putting together packets of papers and running off assignments. Using the computer eliminates most of these things and makes it easier to manage.
Just like learning the new reading or math program the district mandates for use every few years, we need to learn the tools of the trade. Computers have become one of those tools and it is not going away. We need to learn the basics of setting it up for our students. We can have the students set them up at the end of the previous year, but if one students does it wrong, we need to be able to make it right. With the learning and management of the computer comes the big trade-off for me. Less paperwork. More assignments online that do not get lost and can be done if the student is present or absent. That makes it worth the trouble.
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