Sunday, May 30, 2010

How do you learn technology?

When I was in college (over 20 years ago) I was required to take 1 computer class at ISU (programming using PASCAL) In that class, we never even used computers, we just programmed cards. My, how things have changed.

From then, everything I have learned about computers I have taught myself. I can't even tell you how many frustrated and agonizing hours I have had in front of the computer. When I started teaching high school business 4 years ago, I had to teach Dreamweaver (web page design). I knew nothing about the program and I had to try and stay at least one day ahead of the class. I learned a lot about the program but I was super frustrated until I really knew the program well. That's how a lot of teachers feel about technology, frustrated. They want to teach using technology but it's just so time consuming to learn the technology. Doesn't it make sense to have someone in each school building that can assist all the teachers with the technology they want to learn? It would save a lot of the teachers time too. Time they could be using developing their curriculum. Cyber Education: Achieving Obama's Vision

Many students in school today expect the teachers to know all about the programs we are teaching them, but that's an unreal expectation. When my freshmen students can't figure something out, they quickly raise their hand for help. What I figured out was real learning and problem solving can take place when students work at figuring things out on their own. Teaching Secrets - Don't Cripple With Compassion When they have a questions and raise their hand for me to help them, I give them a few minutes to see if they can do it on their own. About 75% of them they figure it out before I get to them. When they are juniors and seniors, a lot of the time they don't even ask me for my help, they just work on it until they can figure it out. What I am finding out too is students are learning from each other. Many times, if a student doesn't know how to do something, another student does and they are willing to teach them how.

In the past year, I had an idea for a new business I could start. I wanted to have a computer office uptown where adults could go to and ask for technology help. It wouldn't be a class, more like a help center where they pay an hourly fee to use. They could pay for a 1 to 1 class on a program they wanted to learn too. My local internet service provider was interested in working with me. They would give me their clientele and office space and in exchange I would be providing a service for their subscribers. Just a thought.

Wouldn't it be nice if teachers had a technology help center in school?

Here's another teacher blog site Teacher Update


Dr. Z said...

What great ideas. I like the article that you referenced. It is quite true when the author says that we need to let our students go through the frustration of solving the problems. You say that your juniors and seniors figure out the problems on their own. Do you think that this is because they have learned that you will let them work on it for a while before you will help them?


Schaa Spills Ink said...

Camilla, We have found when I am teaching technology to the 3/4/5/6th graders, once I give the initial directions on how to create whatever, the kids just help each other rather than wait for me to come to them...I even made a "cheat sheet" to pass out, and guess what? Never picked it up ONCE! (I guess that cheat sheets are for adults!)

Donna Baumbach said...


I love this line: "What I figured out was real learning and problem solving can take place when students work at figuring things out on their own." I've taught more years than you've been alive, but this is something I constantly need to tell myself. I tend to jump in too quickly to try to help instead of letting REAL learning happen.

I wise teacher of mine once told me: "Telling is not teaching."
I was reminded of that when I ready your post. I keep this quote from Marco Torres on my desktop:

"Believe in our kids! I do! Trust them and STOP telling them HOW to THINK and WHAT to DO! MAKE THEM LOVE LEARNING! Give them a chance to question, think, plan, try, and connect their own dots!"

So a little frustration can be a good thing. Think, plan, try, and connect the dots. For me, that's meant real learning!