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Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Future of Keyboarding Instruction

I\'ve been teaching elementary students proper keyboarding techniques for the past 9 years. This year, they don\'t get it. I had to ask myself, "Am I not teaching well? What\'s different?"
The answer was glaring at me...this is a tablet generation. For the first time, this year these students spend more time using tablets, iPods, or phones for communication, gaming, and research over the typical desktop or laptop students of the past.

These students don\'t use proper touch typing methods nor do they even use a typical keyboard to practice those skills. They hunt and peck on the keyboard that is built into the screens or they use a phone keyboard to navigate.
Where does that leave keyboarding instruction? I expect in the next few years we will see a shift from the normal qwerty keyboard to something that is more user friendly for the tablets. Companies are already developing thumb based keyboarding software options, not to mention that dictation based software is getting better and better at voice recognition. So the question is, when does keyboarding get dropped from the curriculum? When do the standards for WPM change? When will I be able to say that I am meeting the standards placed before me? When will this very fluid curriculum adopt a new way to adapt? Isn\'t technology exciting?

Monday, April 15, 2013

1:1 Behavior software management versus discipline

The struggle is there and it is real. Which is better? Do we...
a) As a school invest in software that would allow for monitoring what our students are doing on their ipads while in our classroom and block potential distracting sites.
OR
b) Use the discipline method by teaching our students to be disciplined to make the right choices in the educational environment.

There are pros and cons to each idea. These are just off the top of my head...
PROS
a) This would allow the teacher to know exactly what the students are doing with their technology while they are in their classroom by constantly monitoring usage. It would give the teachers the ability to know and not doubt if a student is on task or not. It would allow students to feel more accountable for their actions in the classroom.
b) This would help equip students with the WHY we choose not to be off task in the classroom by facilitating instruction on the heart issue of the matter. As a Christian school, we would be teaching our students tools in how to navigate away from sins that are enticing to us. It would give the students a long term ability to use technology appropriately regardless of who is watching. It would mean that the teacher would not be tied to their technology in order to monitor such usage. It's cheaper.
CONS
a) The cost of monitoring software. The idea that the teacher would then be tied to their technology to constantly monitor the students takes away from instruction time. The school is basing usage on consequences instead of teaching moderation of use. The teacher can become dependent on the software and not work the room.
b)There will always be some students that push the boundaries successfully unnoticed. The teachers have less of a sense of being "in control" of usage. It is the teachers word versus the students word on whether the student was off task or not. No perceived accountability makes more students willing to push the boundaries.

Thoughts:
Find a balance? Perhaps some classes (such as Study Halls or during research time might benefit from the software), but we need to definitely plan on teaching students the WHY of proper usage as well.