Technology Options – first steps

This week I started rotating my students through the four laptops I have in my classroom during independent work time. I gave them a choice of four simple items – play a review game, participate in compass learning, create a one slide presentation about the four ecological zones around the Niger River, or draw a freehand map of Africa in Paint and show the zones.

This is what I learned:

  • My laptops are slooooooooooooow. No big surprise, I inherited them in the great tech upgrade. Therefore:
  • It would be best to have the first students log on immediately, then go over when it is time.
  • Web options will take longer than program options due to the slowness of the connection. I will also need to consider sending the students to computers out of the room that are faster for some choices.
  • Other reflections:
  • The kids doing it loved it, the kids not doing it were distracted a bit by it, but as they all rotate through I think that will diminish.
  • I will need at least two work periods a week when I can maximise the rotation – 3 a day means it will take 2 weeks to rotate the children through.

It was a simple experiment, but overall I think it worked well. This time I had the students complete the activities as an experiential activity as I was simply testing the method- and I’m wondering if I just want to leave it at that. There are beautiful rubrics on the web, and I’m a pretty good hand at writing them myself, but I gave each child feedback as they completed their option. Must everything be “graded”? As Einstein said “Not everything that matters can be counted.” Hmmm.

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