I can’t believe it’s our second-to-last Tune into Technology linkup! I’ve learned so much from all the amazing bloggers who have linked up with us this summer, so keep the great ideas coming!:) This week we are sharing technology management and organization tips. You can link up any tips you have at the bottom of this post or over at Learning to the Core.
Every teacher understands how crucial those first weeks of school are for teaching classroom expectations and routines. It truly sets the tone for the entire school year. Well, I believe the same goes for technology. I have learned from my many mistakes and make it a huge priority to take my time at the beginning of the year setting the tone for technology use. Here are some pieces of advice based off of what I’ve learned over the years.
1.) Have your classroom website or blog organized and ready to go that first week. I use my classroom website to not only share practice links and videos, but also for students to download and turn assignments in. Therefore, I try to keep everything consistent so that my students get comfortable navigating the site and turning work in. If you’re looking for inspiration, check out last week’s linky, which has some great ideas for utilizing classroom websites.
2.) Speaking of websites, keeping track of all those usernames and passwords for 25+ kids can be a daunting task. This year, my students filed this Keeping Track of My Sites page in their binders and kept a running log of every username and password they signed up for throughout the year. Since they took their binders home every night, they had access to this list when they would practice at home. You can grab this file for free as well as another option for putting individual cards on a ring. (Graphics From the Pond.)
3.) Post Mac or PC commands your students will frequently use, such as copy/paste and save, along with a keyboard so you can point out where to find certain keys. Feel free to grab mine by clicking the image below.
4.) Since technical difficulties are inevitable, I teach my students ways to trouble-shoot in various situations (i.e. their computer freezes, the internet goes out, or the site they’re on isn’t responding). With 28 students using laptops at the same time, there’s no way I can rush to their side every time something goes wrong, so this is a crucial skill for me to teach. My kids know the steps they are to take in certain situations, and sometimes that may mean working with a partner or taking out a book until I’m done working with a small group and can help them. I also have "Tech Support" as one of my classroom jobs, so there are always a couple of "go-to" students that can help out with tech issues.
5.) This one is probably my most important piece of advice. Before students even touch a piece of technology, model appropriate use and care as well as consequences for any misuse. Internet safety is a very important concept to teach at the beginning of the year. Here's a link to to how I taught it last year. It’s a good idea to post signs around your room about the expectations, like the ones below. You may even want the students and their parents to sign an agreement stating that they will follow all of the technology expectations. Click HERE or on the picture below to check them out.