My district is a one-to-one school, and the students have had tablets for two years now. Every K-4 classroom has their own set of tablets, and the fifth grade students each have their own net-book. While we have had the tablets for quite a few years, students still tend to vary on their technology capabilities. Some classroom teachers use them all the time while other teachers rarely use them. In addition, many children have access to technology at home while other students do not. We have a high number of low income students who only have access to technology at school.
Every year I find it difficult to introduce the tablets to my new students. I am always overwhelmed with how many topics I need to go over with them. I usually start off with my set of rules that the students are required to follow while using the tablets. These are basic rules: form a line at the tablet cart, use two hands, no food or drink, sit on your bottom, plug it in when finished etc. Just introducing those rules takes a whole lesson, and then we usually practice retrieving our tablets and plugging them back in. Even simple lessons like this can pose problems: “mine won’t start”, “he’s pushing in line”, “I can’t find my number”, “she cut me”, or “my charger doesn’t work”. It can become very overwhelming.
Then I have the daunting task of how to use the tablets: opening the browser, typing in a web address, where to find the apps, how to use the camera, how to adjust the screen, how to adjust the volume, how to plug in headphones, websites that can/cannot be used, apps that can/cannot be used, how to connect/disconnect from wifi etc. Sometimes the list seems endless. I usually introduce one thing at a time, and try to spend one lesson on each of the sites I use. It can be overwhelming and frustrating because it’s like starting over each year.
This week Jacqui asked us to pick a tech ed topic that we felt would interest us. Since I always struggle with introducing technology at the beginning of the year, I felt that researching “digital rights & responsibilities” would be an ideal fit for me. I struggle to teach students what their rights and responsibilities are when it comes to technology use, and tablet use. While reading on this topic I found quite a videos and posters that I will use next school year. Many of these videos are from Jacqui's site, and I am so glad that she shared them with us.
This Video was my favorite and I plan on using this to introduce tablet expectations to the class. This video will the lead the discussions of what I expect when I using the tablets.
I plan on using these tools to introduce the topics of digital citizenship, internet safety, and digital rights/responsibilities. I will take these one step at a time, and fully focus on each topic. The games can be used to follow our videos and class discussions. The quizzes can be used to assess whether or not children understand what is to be expected of them.
I also found two posters that I would like to include in my classroom for next year. I think this will help encourage students to use technology responsibly throughout the year.
Lastly I found a bulletin board idea that I plan modifying for my classroom. I'd like it to include websites apps that we commonly use in the classroom that way students can refer back to it before asking "can go on-------- site?".
I think spending more time discussing digital citizenship at the beginning of the year will help my students understand what is to be expected of them during tablet time. It will also help with safety and bullying concerns when I introduce Kid Blog later in the school year.