We’re simply over two years into the pandemic for COVID-19, and my college students are lastly again within the classroom and studying in-person. Preserving my college students motivated remains to be a problem, and I’ve seen an necessary change of their perspective to expertise: Simply utilizing tech for actions and tasks has not been inspiring my college students prefer it did earlier than the pandemic.
Earlier than the pandemic, my college students perked up once they heard that they might be utilizing expertise as a medium to finish an exercise or a challenge. They have been all the time excited to check out a brand new program or web site, to create their very own productions with sound and animation or to document a podcast or a digital story. Utilizing expertise to finish tasks was all the time an natural manner for college students to work collectively, discover expertise and current their work in artistic methods. In lots of cases, these experiences with expertise tremendously improved my college students’ retention after all materials and made their studying experiences extra participating.
Being a center college trainer, studying on Zoom was laborious for almost all of my college students. They have been tasked with sitting in entrance of their screens for almost all of the day whereas studying remotely. If that was not sufficient, they have been additionally compelled to be taught and work together with a melting pot of various websites and packages that have been utilized by their totally different academics.
In a short time, expertise was turning into extra of a burden for college students than a instrument to boost their studying.
Now that we’re again in particular person, I’ve needed to maintain this in thoughts when planning actions and tasks.
A Shift in Considering and Planning
After I launched into my first unit challenge after returning to in-person studying, and I introduced our expertise challenge on historical Egypt, I used to be met with frowns and sighs. I had by no means gotten this response from my college students after presenting them with a challenge.
Normally, my college students are electrified with concepts and can’t wait to start. Their reactions actually made me take into consideration how I exploit expertise in my educating, and why I would like my college students to make use of it as a medium to finish their tasks. My intention was all the time to make my college students’ studying extra memorable and fascinating, however now my strategies have been backfiring on me.
I didn’t need my college students to endure by way of this challenge, so I made a decision to amend it a bit. As an alternative of requiring my college students to all full the identical podcasting challenge, I made a decision to provide them selections. I created a alternative board for the traditional Egypt challenge and brainstormed totally different challenge choices, with some that required the usage of expertise and a few that didn’t. After I distributed my alternative board, to my shock, the vast majority of college students selected challenge choices that didn’t require the usage of expertise.
After observing this phenomenon, I wished to dig deeper. I requested my college students to write down a number of traces about why they selected their challenge choice. The responses revealed a number of widespread themes. Most of my college students reported that they wished a break from their screens. They wished to do a challenge that was extra hands-on that allowed them to work extra off-screen. Different college students reported that utilizing expertise for tasks will be actually irritating for them, particularly when issues don’t go as deliberate and they’re compelled to troubleshoot their issues. These college students additionally reported that tasks that require the usage of expertise can take for much longer to finish and ideal due to all of the small particulars that go into them.
After viewing all of the tasks produced for the traditional Egyptian unit, I used to be pleasantly stunned by what was submitted. My college students actually took possession of their challenge selections, and I think the outcomes have been a lot better than they have been once they have been required to finish a selected challenge and didn’t have any selections. It was alternative, not expertise, that impressed my college students.
By way of this course of, I discovered many necessary classes. I noticed that a lot of my college students are fatigued by means of expertise. Lecturers required a number of them throughout distance studying, and it is just proper to provide them a reprieve. A reprieve doesn’t imply I’m making issues simpler for my college students. It implies that I’m now giving them selections.
Though my college students gained many useful tech expertise whereas studying remotely, they weren’t all motivated to make use of them upon their return to the classroom.
Every of my college students is totally different, and so they all have totally different talent units and pursuits. By giving them selections, I’m permitting them to resolve what medium is greatest for them.
And lately, I’ve found that utilizing expertise doesn’t all the time encourage my college students. Giving them selections has impressed my college students to essentially immerse themselves in what they’re studying and reveal their studying in a manner that most closely fits their skillsets. After a break from being compelled into utilizing expertise, my hope is that their love for the usage of expertise will return.