For as much as I’m a supporter of technology in the classroom, I too have those days that are technological disasters. Grade 10 students had class time today to work on the rough draft of an English essay they had been planning. Last week I had taught them how to create a Google doc and share it with me. This in itself took over 20 minutes as it was a “first time” process for the students.
So today, they were ready to type in their new Google Doc using one of our mobile laptop carts (the same cart we had successfully used on Friday!) Because the log on process can take up to 10 minutes with these machines, they started the log on process while they worked on another task. This is the usual procedure, however it quickly became clear that over half of the machines were not logging on. Our school technician put a call into the school board technician, but alas, he was out of the office, so there was no solution.
Fortunately, because we were using Google Docs instead of Microsoft Word, some students volunteered to use their phones to type their essays so that the students without phones could use the computers that were working. A quick download of the Google Drive App on their phones and they were away. Texting away during this band-aid solution, several students asked if they could always “text their essays because it was way easier than typing!”
I was struck by the generation gap that I was a part of! I’ve grown up a typist, and couldn’t imagine texting a full 5 paragraph essay by choice. These students have grown up as texters, and while many of them can type with some degree of efficiency, many have never truly been taught (or forced!) to do more than ‘hunt and peck’ on a keyboard.
What does this mean for 1:1 environments? I’ve always been in the camp that felt 1:1 was much more efficient, effective and necessary with an actual computer, or at the very least a tablet. My biggest argument has always been around the typing of essays……….