Technology, Teenagers and Trust

By Ashley McFadin — I’m amazed at even how much I’ve learned about using technology in the classroom during the last six weeks.

I remember how during my first year of teaching, I had a really hard time letting go of control in my classroom.  I was stressed out because I psychologically couldn’t let the kids explore the content because I was too scared of not being seen as the “adult” in the room.

I eventually loosened up (a lot) and my second year was much better than my first.  I was looking forward to having an even bigger leap into relaxing and allowing students to take the reins of their own learning.  But, I quickly realized that with the introduction of 20+ computers in the room, my micromanaging tendencies were re-emerging.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve really tried to relax around the kids while they use their computers.  And, since I’ve started doing this, the atmosphere in the room has been far more relaxed.  I think part of this new found confidence stems from knowing that I can take preventative measures to make sure students are doing what they’re supposed to be doing.  For example, I can walk to the back of the room and look at everyone’s screen at the same time.  By doing little things like this, students know I’m monitoring them but I’m not over their shoulder and breathing down their neck.

Instead of focusing on the negative behavior that stems from computer usage (i.e.: finding a way to get to Facebook during class), I’ve started writing down a list of positives that are coming from our 1-1 initiative.  The following is a condensed list:

  • Students are leaning basic computer skills that will help them later when they try to find employment.
  • Students are finding digital tools to help them do their assignments.
  • Students are problem-solving how to remember to do their assignments.
  • If a student does not have Internet access, most of them are becoming more comfortable in asking for videos and such to be transferred directly to their desktop through a flash drive or the Air Drop feature on our Macs.

Over the course of this semester, my goal is to find, explore and introduce readers to websites and technology bits that could help you in your own classroom whether or not you have a 1-1 initiative.  But, I’ve realized that in order to do this, I’m going to need my own students’ help, so we’re going to have to learn to trust each other with the laptops.

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