Computer use in classrooms is becoming more and more prevalent each day. As each school and teacher navigates different computing arrangements- carts, labs, BYOD, 1:1- the need for organizational strategies and tips is clear. Below you will find 7 tips to help you address common troubleshooting issues that students often raise.
1. What’s My Log-in?
Many programs require that students use a username and password to access their accounts. Depending on the program and your computing arrangement it is possible that students will be accessing many different programs at irregular intervals. Save the time it takes to find the students username, likely a process that will involve contacting the company or diving into your teacher portal, by establishing a standardized format. Whether it is a combination of a student first and last name, birthday, or school name, standardizing this format will insure that a student always knows his or her username.
2. What’s My Password?
Unlike usernames, passwords must be created with privacy and protection in mind. While there can be some standardization suggested, be sure that students are not able to guess each other’s passwords. Also, be sure to know how to reset and retrieve passwords should the need arise.
3. Where’s My File?
Unless you are employing a 1:1 or BYOD model where students always use the exact same device, having students save to the desktop, or within the software program itself, means you’ll likely never find that document again. Alternative options include saving to a server, or using a cloud-based document storage program. Be sure to specify not only where documents should be saved, but how to name them. Standardizing document names will save tons of time and also make it easier to find documents for review and grading.
4. What Should I Be Doing on the Computer?
Often computer time is less structured than other class time. To insure students are on target clearly define the outputs expected each time students log on. Many programs will also allow you to monitor what a student has completed. Frequently leverage this knowledge to hold students accountable and keep them aware that you are monitoring their work.
5. The Dog Ate My Computer!
Education technology is simply not as reliable as a textbook and a piece of paper. There will likely be times when a device is not charged, when the internet is down, or when a complete assignment just isn’t showing up. That does not mean, however, that the technology is always to blame.
With increasing frequency teachers are hearing excuses from students that blame the technology. Though these excuses will sometimes be valid, insuring that you understand the program will not only enable you to identify false claims, but also allow you to quickly provide assistance when such issues arise.
6. I Can’t Concentrate!
There are many great online resources with strong audio components. To keep the classroom quiet and focused, headphones are a must! Ideally students should not share headphones. Ear buds can transmit bacteria that cause ear infections and overhead headphones can transmit lice.
Though secondary school students will often have headphones on their person, opt instead to store headphones within the classroom in resealable bags marked with student names. This storage strategy will keep cords from tangling and will insure the headphones are always there when you need them.
7. I Forgot the Website I Was Using
Bookmarking frequently used pages will help save time and insure students can get started quickly. Bookmark space in the browser window is limited so you will need to check in with other teachers before taking up too much real estate. When you are ready simply have students bookmark the page(s). This is a simple, often one-click process, so no need to go around and do it yourself.
Technology can be a powerful educational tool in the classroom. Putting into practice these easy tips will help ensure a smooth functioning technology environment that will minimize technology interruptions and maximize classroom learning.